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Henrij  W.  Sage 

A.ffi/i, /J/j(/$JL. 

Cornell  University  Library 
VA55.B47  S9 

The  steam  navy  of  the  United  States 


3  1924  030  755  361 

Cornell  University 

The  original  of  this  book  is  in 
the  Cornell  University  Library. 

There  are  no  known  copyright  restrictions  in 
the  United  States  on  the  use  of  the  text. 


.  .  OF  THE . . . 















.         1 

Introductory _,. 


The  Dkmologos,  or  Fulton,  the  First  Steam  War  Vessel  ever  Built— Robert 
Fulton— The  Sea  Gull— The  Fulton,  2d— Mr,  Chas.  H.  Haswell,  the 
First  Engineer  in  the  United  States  Navy— Captain  M.  C.  Perry's  Rec- 
omendations  Regarding  Engineers'  Force— Regulations  Governing  Ap- 
pointment of  Engineers— Performance  of  the  Fulton  Under  Steam— 
Her  Subsequent  Career— Captain  Perry's  Interest  in  Engineers 8 


The  Engineer— The  Mississippi  and  Missouri— Establishment  of  the  Engineer 
Corps  by  Act  of  Congress— Destruction  of  the  Missouri— Career  of  the 
Mississippi— Steamers  Transferred  to  the  Navy  from  the  War  Depart- 
ment— The  Michigan f%  t       32 


Experiments  with  the  "Hunter  Wheel" — The  Union— The  Water  Witch— 

The  Alleghany — The  Stevens  Battery .; 48 


Introduction  of  the  Screw  Propeller— John  Ericsson—The  Princeton,  and  Her 
Remarkable  Engine— Great-Gun  Accident  on  the  Peinceton  and  Con- 
sequent Breach  of  Friendship  Between  Ericsson  and  Captain  Stockton 
— Subsequent  Career  of  the  Princeton gx 


Reorganization  of  the  Engineer  Corps— Case  of  Chief  Engineer  C.  B.  Moss- 
All  Assistant  Engineers  Examined  and  Rearranged  According  to  Pro- 
ficiency—Laws and  Regulations  Affecting  the  Engineer  Corps  from  1845 
to  1850  — Resignation  of  Chief  Engineer  John  Faron,  Jr 75 


The  War  With  Mexico— Naval  Operatians  i.n  California— Important  Service  of 
Surgeon  William  Max  well  Wood— Blockade  of  !the  Gulf  Coast— Commo- 
dore Perry  and  the  Mississippi— Valuable  Professional  Service  of  Engi- 
neer-in-Chief  Haswell — Bombardment  of  Vera  Cruz — "Alvarado  Hun- 
ter "—Steamers  Bought  for  Temporary  Service — Naval  Engineers  En- 
gaged in  the  Mexican  War — Results  of  the  War 88 


New  Steamers  Authorized  for  the  Navy  in  1847 — The  Susquehanna,  Pow- 
hatan, Saranac,  and  San  Jacinto — Mr.  Haswell  Succeeded  as  Engineer- 
in-Chief  by  Charles  B.  Stuart — Circumstances  Connected  with  Mr.  Has- 
well's  Leaving  the  Navy — His  Great  Services  to  the  Naval  Engineer 
Corps — His  Subsequent  Career 102 


The  Expedition  to  Japan  and  Treaty  with  that  Country— Services  of  Engineers 
in  the  Expedition — Value  of  Steamers  in  Impressing  the  Japanese — 
Other  Naval  Affairs  in  the  Far  East .*., ,,,...,.., 12G 




End  of  the  Experimental  Period  and  Beginning  of  the  Creationary  Period  of 
the  American  Steam  Navy— The  Franklin— The  Mbeeimac  Class  of 
Steam  Frigates— The  Niagara— Services  of  Chief  Engineer  Everett  in 
Connection  with  the  Atlantic  Cable  Laid  by  the  Niagara— The  Hart- 
ford Class  of  Large  Screw  Sloops— Mr.  Archbold  Succeeds  Mr.  Martin 
as  Engineer-in-Chief— The  Mohican  Class— The  Pawnee— The  Paraguay 
Expedition— Small  Steamers  Purchased  for  the  Navy — Project  to  Con- 
vert Old  Line-of-Battle-Ships  into  Steam  Frigates 137 

The  Engineer  Corps  from  1850  to  the  Beginning  of  the  Civil  War— Congress 
Petitioned  to  Increase  the  Corps — Pay  Increased  by  United  Effort  of  all 
Officers— Bank  of  Engineers  Denned— New  Regulations  Governing 
Appointment  and  Promotion  Issued — Opinions  of  Chief  Engineer  Gay 
in  Relation  of  Sails  and  Steam 177 

The  Civil  War 193 

1861— The  Civil  War,  Continued— Engineers  and  Steam  Vessels  in  the  Navy 
at  the  Outbreak  of  Hostilities— Resignation  and  Dismissal  of  Officers — 
Chief  Engineer  B.  F.  Isherwood  Appointed  Engineer-in-Chief  of  the 
Navy — Increase  of  the  Engineer  Corps— Qualifications  of  the  Volunteer 
Engineers — Remarkable  Career  of  Don  Carlos  Hasseltino — Vesseta  Ad- 
ded to  the  Fleet  During  the  Year. — The  Kearsearge  and  Canandaigua 
Classes  of  Steam  Sloops — The  Ninety-Day  Gunboats— The  First  Double- 
Enders 201 

1861— The  Civil  War,  Continued— The  Norfolk  Navy  Yard— Attempt  to  Save 
the  Frigate  Merrimac — Endeavors  of  Engineer-in-Chief  Isherwood — 
Destruction  of  the  Yard — Attack  on  Hatteras  Inlet — Destruction  of  the 
Privateer  Judah  at  Pensacola , 230 

1861— The  Civil  War,  Continued— Expedition  of  Flag  Officer  DuPont  to  Port 
Royal — Loss  of  the  Governor — Naval  Battle  at  Port  Royal — Killing  of 
Assistant  Engineer  Whittemore  on  the  Mohican— Affair  of  the  Trent...  245 


1861— The  Civil  War,  Continued— The  First  American  Iron  Clads— The  Ste- 
vens Battery  Condemned  by  a  Board  of  Naval  Officers— Authority  to 
Build  Armored  Vessels  Conferred  by  Act  of  Congress— Report  of  Board 
on  Iron  Clad  Vessels— The  Galena,  New  Ironsides,  and  Monitor— 
Armored  Vessels  on  the  Mississippi  River 262 


1862— The  Civil  War,  Continued— Capture  of  Roanoke  Island  and  Elizabeth 
City— The  Merrimac  and  Her  Raid— Destruction  of  the  Congress  and 
Cumberland— The  Monitor  Completed  and  Commisioned— Her  Chief 
Engineer,  Isaac  Newton— Voyage  of  the  Monitor  from  New  York  and 
Her  Arrival  in  Hampton  Roads 286 


1862— The  Civil  War,  Continued— First  Fight  of  Iron  Clads— Effects  of  the 
Battle— Extraordinary  Services  Rendered  by  Chief  Engineer  Stimers— 
Attack  on  Drury's  Bluff— The  Galena  Badly  Injured— Gallantry  of 
Assistant  Engineer  J.  W.Thomson „.„ 30j 



1862 — The  Civil  War,  Continued — Naval  Operations  in  the  Mississippi  River 
— Battles  Below  New  Orleans— Catastrophe  to  the  Mound  City — Attack 
on  Vicksburg — Warfare  on  the  Atlantic  Coast — Wreck  of  the  Adieon- 
sack — Loss  of  the  Monitor— Peril  of  the  Passaic— Heroism  of  Assistant 
Engineer  H.  W.  Robie 318 


1862 — The  Civil  War,  Continued — Increase  of  the  Navy— Steamers  Purchased 
Mississippi  Flotilla  Transferred  to  the  Navy  Department — Steam  Ves- 
sels of  War  Placed  Under  Construction — The  Passaic  Class  of  Monitors 
— The  Dictator  and  Puritan— The  Miantonomoh  Class— Other  Moni- 
tors— The  Keokuk — The  Dunderberg — Legislation  Regarding  the  Navy 
— Retired|List  Established — Creation  of  the  Bureau  of  Steam  Engineer- 
ing—Perisions 337 


1863 — The  Civil  War,  Continued — Disasters  at  Galveston — Loss  of  the  Colum- 
bia— Raid  of  Rebel  Rams  off  Charleston — Loss  of  the  Isaac  Smith — The 
Florida,  and  Her  Pursuit  by  the  Sonoma — Investment  of  Washington, 
North  Carolina — Assembling  of  Ironclads  off  Charleston  —  Remarkable 
Breakdown  and  Repairs  to  the  Machinery  of  the  Weehawken — Attack  on 
Fort  McAllister  —  First  Attack  on  Fort  Sumter  —  Destruction  of  the 
Keokuk — The  Atta/nta-Weehawken  Duel — Protracted  Investment  of  the 
Charleston  Forts  by  the  Monitors — Sinking  of  the  Weehawhen 362 


1863— The  Civil  War,  Continued — The  War  on  the  Western  Waters — Passage 
of  Port  Hudson — Destruction  of  the  Frigate  Missiisirpi — Minor  Opera- 
tions in  the  West  —  New  Vessels  Placed  Under  Construction  —  The 
Light-Draft  Monitors — Iron  Double-Enders— Large  Wooden  Frigates 
and  Sloops-of-War— The  First  Swift  Cruisers— The  Kalamazoo  Class 
of  Monitors — Assimilated  Rank  of  Staff  Officers  Raised — New  Regu- 
lations Governing  Promotion  in  the  Engineer  Corps  Issued 384 


1863 — The  Civil  War,  Continued — Controversy  as  to  the  Efficiency  of  Iron- 
Clads — Rear  Admiral  DuPont  Reports  Adversely  to  Them— Chief  Engi- 
neer Stimers  Reports  in  Their  Favor — Rear  Admiral  DuPont  Prefers 
Charges  Against  Chief  Engineer  Stimers — The  Case  Investigated  by  a 
Court  of  Inquiry— Vindication  of  Mr.  Stimers 403 


1864— The  Civil  War,  Continued — Confederate  Successes  in  the  Use  of  Torpedoes 
— Blowing  Up  of  the  Sloop  of  War  Housatonio— Minor  Naval  Operations 
— Boiler  Explosion  on  the  Chenango — The  Keabsargk- Alabama  Fight — 
The  Great  Battle  in  Mobile  Bay— Loss  of  the  Tecumseh — Capture  of  the 
Privateer  Florida  by  the  Wachxtsett — The  Gunboat  Otsego  Sunk  by  a 
Torpedo— First  Attack  on  Fort  Fisher 423 


1864 — The  Civil  War,  Continued — Naval  Operations  in  the  North  Carolina 
Sounds — The  Ram  Albemable— Sinking  of  the  Southfield  and  defeat  of 
the  Miami — The  Naval  Battle  of  May  Fifth — Disaster  to  the  Sassacus  and 
Heroism  of  Her  Chief  Engineer — Daring  Attempt  of  Enlisted  Men  to  De- 
stroy the  Ram — Her  Destruction  by  Lieutenant  Wni.  B.  Gushing — Battle 
and  Capture  of  Plymouth — Prize  Money  Distributed  on  Account  of  the 
Albemarle ,.„„,„,„„.,„,, ,.,..  447 




1864— The  Civil  War,   Continued— New    Ships   and    Machinery  Begun— The 
Serapis  Class — The  Resaca  Class — Competitive  Machinery  of  the  QtriN- 
nebauq  and  Swatara — The  Stromboli,  or  Spuyten  Duyvil — The  Light- 
Draft  Monitors — Petition  of  the  Engineer  Corps  Addressed  to  Congress 
and  its  Results 474 


1865— The  Civil  War,  Concluded— Loss  of  the  San  Jacinto— Second  Attack 
on  Fort  Fisher— The  Patapsco  Destroyed  by  a  Torpedo— Charleston 
Abandoned  by  the  Confederates — The  Monitors  Milwaukee  and  Osage 
Sunk — Loss  of  the  Sciota  and  Ada — Restoration  of  Peace — Some  Naval 
Lessons  of  the  War— Armed  Merchant  Vessels  Unsuited  for  Operations 
of  War — Casualities  of  the  Engineer  Corps  During  the  Rebellion 495 


Competitive  Trials  of  Steam  Machinery — The  Nipsic  and  Kansas — Failure  of 
the  Saco — The  Famous  Algonquin-Winooski  Controversy — Performance 
of  the  Idaho — Her  Success  as  a  Sailing  Ship — Trial  Trip  of  the  Chatta- 
nooga—Trial  of  the  Madawaska — Comparative  Table  of  Results  of 
Trials  of  the  Idaho,  Chattanooga,  Madawaska  and  Wampanoag — 
Subsequent  Career  of  the  Madawaska,  or  Tennessee 514 


The  Trial  Trip  of  the  Wampanoag— Remarkable  Speed  Developed— Official 
Reports  of  Commanding  Officer  and  Board  of  Chief  Engineers— At- 
tempt of  the  Press  to  Discredit  Her  Performance — Her  Success  Verified 
by  the  Trial  of  the  Ammonoosuc — The  Real  Reasons  for  Building  Swift 
Cruisers  During  the  Civil  War — The  Wampanoag  Condemed  by  a 
Board  of  Naval  Officers — Her  Subsequent  Career. 353 


Some  Naval  Eyenis  After  the  Civil  War — The  Voyage  of  the  Monadnock  to 
California— The  Miantonomoh  Visits  Europe — The  Mohongo  in  a 
Pampero— Loss  of  the  Narcissus— Yellow  Fever  on  the  Kearsakgk 
and  Muscoota— Wreck,  of  the  Sacramento — Earthquakes  and  Tidal 
Waves— Wreck  of  the  Suwanee— The  Affair  of  the  Forward— Loss  of 
the  Oneida— Wreck  of  the  Saginaw 584 


Condition  of  the  Engineer  Corps  after  the  War— Resignations— The  Question  of 
Brevet  Rank— First  and  Second  Assistant  Engineers  Become  Commissioned 
Officers— Chief  Engineer  J.  W.  King  Appointed  Engineer-in-CMef— Sweep- 
ing Reduction  in  Rank  of  Staff  Officers— Use  of  Steam  Discontinued  on 
Ships  of  War— The  Pay  Act  of  1870— The  Act  of  1871 603 


Shipbuilding  Progress  in  the  Navy,  1865-1880— The  Alaska  and  Class-Cap- 
tured Blockade-Runners— Sale  of  Monitors— Rebuilding  of  the  Mian- 
tonomoh Class— The  Puritan— The  New  Swatara  and  Class— Com- 
pound Engines-Chief  Engineer  Wood  Appointed  Engineer-in-Chief— 
Costly  Experiments  with  Two-Bladed  Propellers— The  Alert  Class  of 
Iron  Gunboats— The  Enterprise  Class— The  Trenton— The  Nipsic— 
The  Despatch— The  Alarm  and  Intrepid ' 622 


The  Training  of  Naval  Engineers  at  the  Naval  Academy 652 




Steam  Vessels  of  the  United  States  Navy  in  the  Arctic  Ocean — The  Polaris 
Expedition — Cruise  of  the'JuNiATA  and  Tigbess — The  Jeannette  Ex- 
pedition— Retreat  on  the  Ice — Heroism  and  Fortitude  of  Chief  Engi- 
neer Melville — Voyage  and  Loss  of  the  Rodgehs — Naval  and  Congres- 
sional Investigations  Into  the  Loss  of  the  Jeannette — The  Greely 
Belief  Expedition — Tardy  Promotion  of  Chief  Engineer  Melville  for 
Heroism  Displayed  in  the  Jeannette  Expedition 679 


Uniforms  and  Corps  Devices  of  the  Engineer  Corps 713 


The  Connection  of  the  Naval  Engineer  Corps  with  Technical  Education  in 
the  United  States — Engineers  Detailed  to  Colleges  by  Authority  of 
Congress — Success  of  the  Experiment — Its  Discontinuance 732 


Brief  Mention  of  Events  of  Engineering  Interest  Since  1872— Peril  of  the  Man- 
hattan— Titles  of  Assistant  Engineers  Changed— Chief  Engineer  Wm. 
H.  Shock  Appointed  Engineer-in-Chief — Loss  of  the  Huron — Cruise  of 
the  Marion  to  Heard  Island — Reduction  of  Engineer  Corps  in  1882 — 
Case  of  the  Discharged  Cadet  Engineers— Wreck  of  the  Ashuelot — 
Longevity  Pay  for  Passed  Assisant  Engineers— Chief  Engineer  C.  H. 
Loring  Succeeds  Mr.  Shock  as  Engineer-in-Chief — Naval  Disaster  at 
Samoa — Naval  Engineers  at  the  Columbian  Exposition  and  Midwinter 
— Fair  Loss  of  the  Kearsarge — Casualty  on  the  Monterey 744 


The  New  Navy— Naval  Advisory  Boards — First  Acts  of  Congress  Providing  for 
the  Rebuilding  of  the  Navy — The  Atlanta,  Boston,  Chicago,  and 
Dolphin — The  Newark,  Yorktown,  and  Petrel — The  Charleston — 
The  Texas,  Maine,  and  Baltimore — The  Dynamite-Gun  Cruiser — The 
Montebey — The  Philadelphia  and  San  Francisco — Chief  Engineer 
George  W.  Melville  Appointed  Engineer-in-Chief  of  the  Navy 771 


The  New  Navy,  Continued— The  New  York  and  Olympia— The  Detroit  Class 
— The  Cincinnati  and  Raleigh — The  Bancroft,  Castine  and  Machias 
— The  Ainmen  Rain  —  Coast-Line  Battle-Ships  —  The  Ericsson — The 
Columbia — Her  Remarkable  Voyage  Across  the  Atlantic  Ocean — The 
Minneapolis— The  Bbookltn  and  Iowa — New  Torpedo  Boats  and  Gun- 
boats— The  New  Kearsarge 809 


Conclusion 845 


An  Alphabetical  List  of  the  Names  of  All  Members  of  the  Regular  Corps  of  the 

Navy  from  the  Introduction  of  Steam  to  the  Present  Day 853 


List  of  Steam  Vessels  of  War  of  the  United  States,  with  Principal  Data  Regard- 
ing them  and  a  Brief  Synopsis  of  Service ;  Arranged  in  Chronological 
Order 893 


"  Uncle  Samuel's  Whistle  and  What  it  Costs  ;"  An  Illustrated  Satire  of  the  Old 
Navy „ , 919 


HAVING  completed  this  work,  the  author  desires  to  express  his 
thanks  to  many  friends  and  acquaintances  whose  assistance, 
given  in  the  form  of  books,  letters,  manuscripts,  etc. ,  has  made  the 
collection  of  much  of  the  contained  information  possible.  Especial 
thanks  are  due  to  Mr.  Ohas.  H.  Haswell  of  New  York,  a  veteran 
engineer,  and  one  of  the  few  survivors  of  the  earliest  steam  period 
of  our  navy;  his  clear  mind  has  supplied  a  fund  of  information 
regarding  the  birth  of  our  steam  navy  that  could  not  have  been 
obtained  elsewhere,  and  which  has  made  possible  the  rescue  from 
oblivion  of  much  of  the  subject-matter  included  in  the  first  chapters. 
Chief  Engineer  B.  F.  Isherwood,  U.  S.  Navy,  has  also  kindly  sup- 
plied much  information  and  many  references  to  documents  from 
which  valuable  knowledge  has  been  derived. 

Chief  Engineers  James  W.  King,  William  H.  Shock,  Charles 
H.  Loring,  George  W.  Melville,  David  P.  Jones,  James  Entwistle, 
F.  G.  McKean,  Harrie  Webster,  and  James  H.  Perry;  Passed 
Assistant  Engineers  Eobert  S.  Griffin,  F.  C.  Bieg,  Walter  M. 
McFarland,  H.  P.  Norton,  F.  C.  Bowers,  G.  Kaemmerling,  and 
Chief  Naval  Constructor  Philip  Hichborn,  have  all  afforded  so  much 
aid  in  the  way  of  papers,  manuscripts,  photographs,  etc. ,  that  it  is  a 
pleasure  to  thank  them  by  name.  Mr.  T.  C.  Brecht,  formerly  of 
the  naval  engineer  corps,  and  Mr.  A.  O.  Blaisdell  of  New  York, 
have  contributed  valuable  drawings  of  machinery  of  older  ships, 
which  might  not  have  been  found  elsewhere,  which  are  greatly 
appreciated.  Mr.  E.  H.  Hart,  the  well-known  photographer  of 
Brooklyn,  has  placed  the  author  under  many  obligations  by  allowing 
the  use  of  photographs  upon  which  he  holds  copyrights.  Besides 
those  already  named,  nearly  three  hundred  others — officers  and 
ex-officers  of  the  navy,  ship  and  engine  builders,  and  civilians  inter- 
ested in  naval  progress — have  by  letter  or  verbally  given  much 
assistance;  all  whom  are  now  formally  thanked. 

In  all  matters  of  historical  importance  the  aim  has  been  to 
adhere  strictly  to  official  accounts  written  at  the  time  by  persons 
most  directly  concerned.  With  this  idea  in  view,  the  annual  reports 
of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  for  more  than  fifty  years,  covering  the 


period  since  steam  was  introduced  into  the  navy,  have  been  carefully 
studied,  as  have  also  the  reports  of  commanding  officers  of  fleets, 
squadrons,  and  ships,  especially  those  relating  to  the  operations  of 
the  Civil  War.  The  records  of  the  naval  Bureaus  of  Steam  Engi- 
neering and  Construction  and  Kepair  have  been  found  mines  of  useful 
knowledge.  Many  reports  made  by  committees  of  Congress  on 
naval  matters  have  also  been  used  and  much  information  gained 
from  them,  they  being  official  and  impartial  to  the  same  extent  as 
departmental  reports,  and  therefore  equally  suitable.  From  these 
official  sources  and  from  individuals  of  undoubted  reliability  the 
material  for  this  book  has  been  obtained. 

In  addition  to  official  documents,  many  books  have  been  used 
for  reference.  Some  of  these  are  mentioned  in  the  text;  among 
others,  those  found  most  useful  have  been,  "  The  Atlantic  and  Gulf 
Coast, "  by  Rear  Admiral  Daniel  Ammen;  C.  B.  Boynton,  "History 
of  the  Navy  During  the  Cival  War;"  Charles  B.  Stuart,  "Naval 
and  Merchant  Steamers  of  the  United  States;"  J.  E.  Soley,  "The 
Blockade  and  the  Cruisers;"  Geo.  F.  Emmons,  "Navy  of  the 
United  States,  1775-1853;"  Bear  Admiral  Preble,  "History  of 
Steam  Navigation;"  Dr.  R.  H.  Thurston,  "Growth  of  the  Steam 
Engine;"  Captain  A.  T.  Mahan,  "Gulf  and  Inland  Waters;" 
T.  H.  S.  Hamersly,  "  General  Register  of  the  U.  S.  Navy;"  J.  T. 
Scharf,  "History  of  the  Confederate  States  Navy,"  Bennet 
Woodcroft,  "Origin  of  Steam  Navigation;"  "Wm.  C.  Church, 
"Life  of  John  Ericsson;"  H.  O.  Ladd,  "  The  War  With  Mexico;" 
Chief  Engineer  B.  F.  Isherwood,  "Engineering  Precedents,"  and 
"Experimental  Researches;"  Chief  Engineer  George  W.  Melville, 
"  In  the  Lena  Delta;"  Mrs.  Emma  De  Long,  "  The  Yoyage  of  the 
Jeannette;"  Chief  Engineer  James  W.  King,  "European  Ships  of 
War,"  and  Wm.  Fairbairn,  "  History  of  Iron  Ship-Building. "  The 
Journal  of  the  American  Society  of  Naval  Engineers  has  furnished 
complete  data  regarding  naval  and  commercial  steamers  of  the 
United  States  and  foreign  countries  for  the  past  seven  years,  or  ever 
since  that  journal  was  established. 

Appendix  A  is  known  to  be  imperfect  in  not  containing  the 
names  of  that  great  body  of  patriotic  Americans  who  served  their 
country  so  well  as  volunteer  engineers  in  the  n;ivy  during  the  long 
war  for  the  preservation  of  the  Union:  they  numbered  upwards  of 
twenty-five  hundred  and  their  names  and  records  when  displayed  in 
tabular  form  were  found  to  fill  so  many  pages  as  to  exceed  the  limits 


proposed  for  this  volume,  which  obliged  the  author  reluctantly  to 
abandon  his  original  intention  of  including  them  in  the  list  of  officers 
of  the  regular  service. 

Appendix  B  is  also  incomplete  for  lack  of  space.  To  prop- 
erly present  in  tables  all  the  important  data  relating  to  our  naval 
steamers,  their  engines,  boilers,  builders,  synopsis  of  service,  etc., 
would  require  pages  of  folio,  or  at  least  quarto,  size,  the  tables  given 
being  consequently  limited  by  the  size  of  these  pages  to  a  few 
columns  of  the  most  important  items.  Lack  of  space  has  also  caused 
the  omission  from  these  tables  of  the  names  of  a  large  number  of 
steamers  purchased  or  captured  during  the  Civil  War  and  used  tem- 
porarily as  war  vessels.  An  excellent  list  of  naval  vessels,  giving 
all  useful  information,  was  published  in  book  form  in  1853  by 
Lieutenant  (afterwards  rear  admiral)  George  F.  Emmons,  but  noth- 
ing of  the  kind  has  appeared  recently.  Some  officer  with  a  liking 
for  statistics  could  not  be  better  employed  at  present  than  in  the 
preparation  of  similar  tables  brought  up  to  date,  uiing  the  Emmons 
book  as  a  model,  for  it  cannot  be  improved  upon  in  form  and 
arrangement.  Unless  this  is  done  soon,  much  useful  and  interesting 
information  will  be  lost,  as  the  author,  with  all  the  records  of  the 
Navy  Department  to  refer  to,  found  great  difficulty  in  collecting 
data  pertaining  to  ships  not  more  than  thirty  years  old. 

Appendix  C,  "Uncle  Samuel's  Whistle  and  What  It  Costs, " 
is  amusing  rather  than  instructive.  It  is  reprinted  to  gratify  requests 
made  by  a  number  of  present  and  former  members  of  the  engineer 
corps.  It  is  hoped  it  will  please  the  older  officers  of  the  navy  to  see 
it  again  in  print,  while  it  certainly  will  amuse  the  younger  men  of 
the  service  who  have  never  seen  it. 

The  author  submits  no  apology  for  making  this  book.  It  is  a 
custom  in  armies  and  navies  for  the  histories  of  distinct  corps, 
departments,  regiments,  and  even  ships,  to  be  written,  and,  although 
the  supply  of  books  in  the  world  is  far  too  great,  there  is  room  for 
one  more  to  tell  the  story  of  steam  in  the  American  Navy.  The  only 
regret  felt  by  the  writer  in  giving  this  volume  to  his  friends  and  the 
public  is  because  of  its  imperfections:  the  subject  deserves  better 
treatment,  and  with  more  time  and  better  opportunities  to  bestow 
upon  it  could  be  made  more  valuable  as  a  history  and  more  attractive 
in  literary  form.  As  it  is,  it  has  cost  much  research  and  hard  work 
in  the  intervals  of  busy  employment  afloat  and  ashore,  and  it  is  now 
open  to  criticism.  F.  M.  B. 

New  York,  August,  1896. 





The  Steam  Navy  of  the  United  States. 


"  For  we  are  to  bethink  us  that  the  Epic  verily  is  not  Arms  and  the  Man, 
but  Tools  and  the  Man — an  infinitely  wider  kind  of  Epic." — Thomas  Caklylb: 
Past  and  Present,  Book  IV.,  Chapter  1. 


A  glorious  epic  of  the  olden  world,  with  the  first  lines  of 
which  most  modern  men  are  familiar,  sings  in  stately  rythm  of 
' '  The  arms  and  the  man  who  first  from  the  shores  of  the  Trojan  into 
Italy  came, ' '  and  this  association  of  man  and  his  weapons  has  re- 
mained through  all  the  ages  as  the  symbol  and  corner  stone  of  all 
human  government,  power,  and  progress.  The  events  of  the  cent- 
ury now  drawing  to  its  end  have  to  a  considerable  extent  shaken 
this  ideal,  for  other  things  than  arms  have  come  to  be  recognized  in 
the  story  of  man's  development  a  change  in  sentiment 
expressed  to  perfection  by  that  prince  of  modern  philosophers 
in  the  words  that  appear  at  the  head  of  this  chapter.  In  under- 
taking the  subject  of  this  volume  the  author  does  not  propose 
to  sing,  or  try  to  sing,  of  tools  and  men  alone,  nor  will  he 
attempt  to  elevate  either  tools  or  arms  to  the  disadvantage  of  the 
other;  but  rather,  believing  that  the  adoption  of  steam  machinery 
for  purposes  of  war  furnishes  the  most  perfect  illustration  in  exis- 
tence of  the  mutual  dependence  and  co-operation  of  these  two  great 
factors  in  civilization,  he  will  endeavor  to  treat  them  as  equals,  for 
the  arm  is  a  tool  and  the  tool  is  an  arm,  and  their  uses  and  purposes 
are  identical  within  the  limits  of  the  subject  of  this  book. 

The  story  of  the  application  of  steam  power  to  navigation, 
especially  to  the  navigation  and  operation  of  ships  of  war,„  is  a  long 
one,  and  one  which  must  be  imperfectly  told  in  the  following  chap- 
ters for  the  reason  that  the  slow  acceptance  and  growth  of  the  new 
element  will  be  considered  with  reference  to  one  country  and  one 


navy  oaly.  Men  who  have  made  a  study  of  the  history  of  war,  or 
who  have  given  even  a  reasonable  amount  of  reading  to  the  subject 
are  familiar  with  the  reluctance  with  which  the  older  weapons  were 
laid  aside  for  those  which  came  in  with  the  use  of  gunpowder. 
"YiHainous  saltpetre"  was  for  a  long  era  an  object  of  dislike  and 
distrust  and  those  who  used  it  were  regarded  with  disfavor  if  not 
with  contempt;  they  did  not  meet  the  enemy  in  hand-to-hand  con- 
flict with  sword  and  spear;  they  begrimed  their  hands  and  clothing 
with  burnt  powder;  they  could  not  join  in  the  rush  and  blood-stirring 
excitement  of  the  charge,  but  stood  off  from  friend  and  foe  encum- 
bered with  their  heavy  weapons,  creating  an  ill-smelling  smoke  and 
discordant  noises,  and  their  labors  were  very  grudgingly  admitted  to 
be  of  any  real  advantage.  So  strong  was  the  aversion  to  the  new 
implement  that  in  1544,  two  hundred  years  after  cannon  are  known 
to  have  been  used  by  civilized  nations  in  battle,  *  an  historian  deal- 
ing with  the  subject  wrote  that  a  monk  was  the  inventor  of  cannon ; 
adding  that  "the  villian  who  brought  into  the  world  so  mischievous 
a  thing  is  not  worthy  that  his  name  should  remain  in  the  memory  of 

As  they  did  not  take  part  in  hand-to-hand  conflict,  gunners  were 
looked  upon  as  non-combatants,  quite  inferior  to  the  warriors  of  the 
broad-sword  and  battle-axe  variety,  and  as  their  weapon  was  very 
slow  in  its  development  they  remained  in  an  inferior  military  posi- 
tion for  many  centuries.  It  is  an  historical  fact  that  it  was  not  until 
just  before  the  beginning  of  the  American  Revolution  that  the  artil- 
lery branch  of  the  British  army,  after  a  protracted  but  triumphant 
struggle  with  prejudice,  "had  vindicated  its  right  to  be,  and  was  con- 
sidered an  important  combatant  arm.  "2  So  complete  has  been  the 
change  of  sentiment  with  respect  to  cannon  within  about  one  hund- 
red years  that  men  belonging  to  military  establishments  now,  especi- 
ally navies,  who  make  a  point  of  priding  themselves  upon  being  es- 
sentially combatants,  base  their  claim  wholly  upon  the  circumstance 
that  their  business  is  to  handle  cannon  and  gunpowder.     The  effect 

»  At  Crecy  in  1346.  Traditions  more  or  less  authentic  carry  the  use  of  "  fire 
pipes"  or  other  obscurely  described  weapons  back  almost  to  the  beginning  of  thl 
Christian  era.  °        UB 

*  Lieutenant  W.  E.  Birkhimer:  "  Historical  Sketch  of  the  Artillery  T7  <a 
Army."  •"     '  °* 


of  the  prejudice  of  centuries  against  firearms  is  still  visible  in  the 
lingering  regiments  of  lancers,  armed  with  the  spear,  occasionally 
met  with  in  the  great  armies  of  the  most  progressive  powers. 

The  introduction  of  steam  into  naval  operations  has  revolution- 
ized the  fighting  tactics  of  navies  to  fully  as  great  an  extent  as  gun- 
powder changed  the  methods  of  fighting  on  land,  and  in  precisely 
the  same  manner  has  the  development  of  steam  been  hindered  by  a 
prejudice  born  of  older  things  and  intolerant  of  change.  Gunpowder 
has  long  since  won  its  struggle,  and  steam  on  shore  has  been  equally 
successful,  but  steam  at  sea  is  still  in  the  very  thickest  of  the  fight 
for  recognition  upon  its  merit,  and  this  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  the 
vehicle  for  its  use — the  marine  engine — has  advanced  further 
toward  perfection  within  the  hundred  years  of  its  life  than  did 
the  cannon  during  all  the  centuries  from  Crecy  to  Sedan,  and  is 
now  in  a  stage  of  development  fully  abreast,  if  not  actually  ahead 
of  the  most  perfected  pieces  of  ordnance.  That  steam  will  win  an 
equal  place  and  equal  honor  with  gunpowder  and  the  propelling 
and  auxiliary  engines  of  a  ship  of  war  will  come  to  be  recognized  as 
arms  fully  as  important  in  making  up  the  ship's  combative  qualities, 
as  the  turret  and  machine  guns  is  a  matter  of  simple  logic;  it  only 
remains  to  be  seen  how  long  it  will  be  before  preconceived  notions 
will  admit  the  value  of  a  new  weapon. 

It  is  proposed  to  begin  with  the  first  steam  war- vessel  ever  built, 
which  happened  to  be  in  our  own  navy,  and  to  trace  from  that  clumsy 
beginning  the  slow  development  of  the  naval  steamer,  with  such  il- 
lustrations as  have  been  obtainable,  in  such  manner  that  the  chapters  of 
this  book  will  be  an  orderly  and  progressive  account  of  the  growth  of  the 
war-steamer  and  the  marine  engine  in  the  United  States.  Into  this  nar- 
rative, as  a  most  essential  part,  will  be  woven  the  history  of  the 
engineer  corps  of  the  navy,  whose  members  have,  in  the  face  of  much 
that  was  discouraging,  kept  the  standard  of  our  steamers  fully  up  to 
that  of  other  nations  and  have  made  the  new  navy,  with  its  swift 
steel  ships  and  perfected  machinery, an  established  fact.  Naval  histo- 
ries,'1 of  which  there  are  many,  deal  almost  entirely  with  the  deeds 
of  those  who  fight  in  ships  that  they  have  received  completed  from 
the  hands  of  the  builders,  and  in  a  majority  of  cases  have  little  or 
nothing  to  say  of  the  ships  themselves  or  of  their  makers,  or  of  that 
other  class  of  officials  who  not  only  design  and  build  the  vitals  of  all 


modern  war-ships  but  fight  in  the  ships  themselves  as  part  of  their 
naval  duties.  In  making  this  work  statistical  to  a  considerable  ex- 
tent with  regard  to  our  naval  steamers  it  is  therefore  proper  that  the 
lives  and  deeds  of  those  who  have  been  so  intimately  connected  with 
them  be  also  told,  descriptively  as  well  as  statistically,  and  in  so  do- 
ing the  author  believes  he  will  supply  a  lack  that  many  beside  him- 
self have  noticed  in  the  older  and  more  pretentious  histories  of  our 

It  has  been  written  that  it  is  difficult  to  become  sentimental 
about  the  engineer.  This  idea  is  born  of  the  belief  that  he  deals 
only  with  material  things  and  takes  no  part  in  the  glorious  possibili- 
ties of  war  or  in  the  victories  that  are  won  from  storms.  This  theory 
is  absolutely  false;  his  post  of  duty  is  as  dangerous,  as  responsible, 
and  as  romantic,  if  you  will,  as  any  in  a  ship  if  people  did  but  know 
it,  and  it  is  only  because  of  a  cultivated  fondness  for  things  that  have 
been  long  celebrated  in  song  and  story  that  they  do  not  know  it. 
The  life  of  the  old-time  sailor  was  in  reality  commonplace  enough  to 
satisfy  even  a  ploughman,  but  an  admiration  for  the  sea  and  those 
who  face  its  dangers  on  the  part  of  those  who  never  go  to  sea  has 
made  of  the  sailor's  existence  a  picturesque  ideal  that  has  become  an 
article  of  faith  with  all  landsmen.  And  this  faith  excludes  the  new 
type  of  seaman — the  man  of  the  engine  and  boiler  rooms — from  any 
share  in  the  romance  of  the  sea  because  he  faces  dangers  of  another 
kind  and  performs  his  duty  in  another  atmosphere,  though  equally 
exposed  to  the  dangers  that  are  peculiar  to  a  life  afloat.  When  some 
poet  with  a  clearer  vision  and  a  willingness  to  enter  an  untrodden 
field  shall  appear  and  sing  the  song  of  steam  it  will  be  a  revelation 
.y  to  the  multitude;  for  there  is  music  and  romance  and  poetry  as  well 
as  the  embodiment  of  power  about  the  mechanisms  that  drive  the 
great  ships  of  to-day. 

From  a  habit  of  thought,  then,  rather  than  from  any  real  state 
of  affairs,  the  engine-room  men  of  modern  fleets  are  denied  partici- 
pation and  honor  in  much  of  the  life  in  which  they  take  a  leading  part. 
With  but  little  change,  Napier's  famous  comparision  of  the  condi- 
tions surrounding  the  British  and  French  soldiers  in  the  Peninsular 
War  applies  most  aptly  to  the  relation  between  the  artificer  and 
sailor  classes  in  modern  navies.  The  British  soldier,  though  patiently 
fighting  to  conquer,  could  look  forward  to  no  honors  to  reward  his 


daring;  no  despatch  gave  his  name  to  the  plaudits  of  his  country- 
men; his  life  of  danger  and  hardship  was  uncheered  by  hope,  his 
death  unnoticed.  At  the  same  time,  "Napoleon's  troops  fought  in 
bright  fields,  where  every  helmet  caught  some  beams  of  glory."  In 
just  the  same  way  the  naval  engineer  and  his  men  toil  in  darkness  in 
the  depths  of  the  ship,  knowing  full  well  that  much  they  do  will  be 
unknown  and  unnoticed,  however  important  it  may  be;  and  they 
often  meet  emergencies  so  bravely  that  their  ships  are  saved  from 
destruction  or  disablement  both  in  peace  and  war,  as  will  be  shown 
hereafter  by  a  few  notable  instances  of  duty,  well  done,  that  have  come 
to  light  out  of  the  many  that  have  been  performed. 

Few  naval  engineeers  of  any  length  of  service  have  not  once  at 
least,  been  suddenly  brought  face  to  face  with  death  in  its  most  fear- 
ful form  by  being  called  upon  to  act  in  an  emergency  resulting  from 
a  damaged  boiler  or  steam  pipe,  and  the  instances  are  few  where 
they  have  failed  to  prevent  a  calamity  by  sticking  to  their  posts  and 
encouraging  their  men  to  do  the  needful  work,  often  so  quietly  that 
knowledge  of  the  danger  averted  does  not  extend  beyond  the  fire- 
room.  If  equal  danger  were  faced  from  shot  and  shell  in  the  smoke 
of  battle,  popular  applause  and  military  rewards  would  follow,  but 
the  engineer,  encountering  his  peril  in  clouds  of  scalding  steam  and 
in  the  choke  and  wither  of  fierce  fires  suddenly  hauled,  does  not  ap- 
peal to  the  popular  idea  of  heroism,  though  his  acts  are  heroic  and 
his  performance  of  duty  in  navies  is  a  military  act  just  as  much  as 
nailing  a  flag  to  a  mast,  stopping  a  shot  hole,  or  fishing  a  mast  under 
fire,  are  military  duties.  Nor  has  he  even  the  consoling  thought 
when  confronted  with  an  emergency  of  meeting  a  death  accounted 
heroic,  for  if  he  dies  it  must  be  like  a  rat  in  a  hole,  for  which  there 
is  no  glory,  popular  fancy  regarding  no  death  for  one's  country 
glorious,  unless  it  is  met  not  only  beneath  the  flag  but  in  full  sight  of  it. 

Popular  ideaB  of  naval  administration  are  based  upon  a  partial 
knowledge  of  an  order  of  things  that  is  no  more,  and  not  upon  fa- 
miliarity with  conditions  that  really  exist.  Whatever  notions  the  pub- 
lic may  entertain,  the  fact  remains  that  a  much  firmer  and  finer  de- 
gree of  courage  is  required  in  the  officer  who  controls  a  division  of 
men,  either  in  peace  or  war,  imprisoned  beneath  the  battle-hatches 
of  a  war-steamer  than  in  him  whose  men  are  in  the  open  air  and  in 
flight  of  their  danger.     If  the  habit  of  command  is  ever  needed  in  an 


officer  it  is  in  the  trying  emergencies  and  conditions  that  beset  the 
naval  engineer,  and  he  who  posesses  it  to  the  degree  that  enables  him 
in  a  critical  moment  to  keep  his  men  at  their  posts  and  free  from 
panic,  thereby  making  of  them  and  the  machinery  they  handle  a 
fighting  factor  that  can  be  relied  upon,  is  aiding  his  commanding 
officer  in  carrying  out  a  plan  of  battle  to  folly  as  great  an  extent  as 
can  any  other  officer  who  directs  the  handling  of  two  or  four  guns; 
and  the  officer  who  does  this  is  most  thoroughly  and  essentially  a 
combatant,  performing  duties  directly  contributory  to  the  fighting 
capabilities  of  the  ship.  This  proposition  needs  no  proof  to  those 
familiar  with  modern  naval  conditions,  but  as  one  of  the  purposes  of 
this  book  is  to  set  the  position  of  Americaa  naval  engineers  in  a  true 
light  before  the  public  a  number  of  instances  of  gallantry  and  profes- 
sional efficiency  on  their  part  will  be  recited  to  prove  that  they  actu- 
ally and  by  right,  by  virtue  of  the  duties  they  perform,  belong  to  the 
combatant  class  of  naval  officers,  of  the  navy  as  well  as  in  the  navy. 
As  the  Civil  War  furnishes  the  example  of  the  most  prolonged 
and  arduous  service  that  our  navy  has  ever  been  called  upon  to  per- 
form, and  is,  moreover,  the  first  and  only  instance  of  great  naval 
operations  being  carried  on  by  means  of  steam  vessels,  it  wiH  be 
taken  as  the  proper  field  for  illustrating  the  nature  and  importance 
of  the  duties  that  engineers  have  rendered  this  country  in  its  naval 
service.  Though  nearly  one-half  of  this  volume  will  be  devoted  to 
the  work  of  the  navy  during  the  Civil  War,  no  idea  has  been  enter- 
tained of  giving  even  an  outline  of  our  naval  history  during  that  pe- 
riod. A  sufficient  number  of  naval  engagements  and  undertakings 
will  be  narrated  in  chronological  order  to  give  an  ordinarily  good 
idea  of  the  general  services  performed  by  the  navy,  and  an  effort 
will  be  made  to  trace  with  some  care  the*  changes  in  type  of  naval 
steam-ships  and  marine  engines  resulting  from  the  experiences  of  the 
war.  In  all  of  this  no  undue  or  undeserved  prominence  will  be  given 
to  the  naval  engineer  corps  or  to  any  of  its  members,  but  where  en- 
gineers have  rendered  conspicuous  service,  either  in  battle  or  in  pro- 
paring  ships  and  machinery  for  use  in  war,  full  credit  will  be  accorded 
them.  This  being  a  history  of  engines  and  engineers,  it  is  natural 
that  engineers  should  be  frequently  mentioned,  but  that  does 
not  leave  the  inference  that  they  were  the  only  officers  engaged  in 
carrying  on  the  war  on  the  part  of  the  navy;  on  the  contrary   th 


aim  is  simply  to  show  that  they  did  contribute  much  to  the  success 
of  the  Union  arms  and  were  much  more  than  civilian  adjuncts  to  the 
officers  charged  with  the  execution  of  general  operations,  whom  they 
helped  so  well.  The  latter  cannot  at  this  late  day  regret  that  the 
story  of  the  devotion  of  their  engineer  colleagues  is  to  be  told,  es- 
pecially as  the  story  of  their  own  deeds  has  been  told  often  and  well 
and  has  become  a  glorious  part  of  our  naval  history. 


"  Soon  shall  thy  arm,  unconquer'd  Steam!  afar 
Drag  the  slow  barge,  or  drive  the  rapid  car; 
Or  on  wide-waving  wings  expanded  bear 
The  flying  chariot  through  the  fields  of  air." 

Eeasmtjs  Darwin. 

The  Demologos,1  or  Fulton,  the  First  Steam  War- Vessel  ever  Built — Eobert  Ful- 
ton—The Sea  Gull— The  Fulton,  2d— Mr.  Charles  H.  Haswell,  the  First 
Engineer  in  the  United  States  Navy— Captain  M.  C.  Perry's  Eecommenda- 
tions  Eegarding  Engineers'  Force — Regulations  Governing  Appointment  of 
Engineers— Performance  of  the  Fulton  Under  Steam — Her  Subsequent  Ca- 
reer— Captain  Perry's  Interest  in  Engineers. 

THE  first  steam 
vessel  for  war 
purposes  in  the 
United  States  na- 


or     m 


navy  for  that  mat- 
ter, was  the  Demo- 
logos, or  Fulton, 
designed  by  Mr. 
Eobert  Fulton  and 
"  built  under  his  su- 
,  pervision  in  New 
H  Yorkinl814, while 
P  the  war  with  Great 
Britain  was  going 
on.  Owing  to  diffi- 
culties in  obtaining 
material  and  skilled  labor,  this  vessel,  or  floating  battery,  was  not 
completed  in  time  to  be  used  against  the  British  fleet,  then  con- 
stantly hovering  about  the  port  of  New  York,  an  unfortunate  circum- 
stance that  is  to  be  regretted  for  more  reasons  than  one.  The  sub- 
sequent performance  of  this  peculiar  craft  under  steam  makes  it 


111  Voice  of  the  People." 


certain  that  with  her  powerful  battery  and  independence  of  wind  and 
tide  she  would  have  been  entirely  successful  oyer  the  sailing-frigates 
she  was  built  to  assail,  her  advantage  over  them  being  not  unlike 
that  possessed  by  a  savage,  tireless  wolf  attacking  a  flock  of  sheep. 
Her  earlier  advent  would  have  saved  us  the  loss  of  the  President 
frigate,  and  thus  deprived  the  enemy  of  one  of  the  very  few  causes 
for  rejoicing  over  naval  victories  that  the  events  of  that  war  afforded. 

Of  much  more  importance  would  have  been  the  incalculable  im- 
pulse given  to  steam  as  a  factor  in  naval  warfare  that  would  have 
followed  the  success  of  the  Demologos  in  battle,  and  which  would 
have  set  forward  the  development  of  the  times  in  this  regard  almost 
half  a  century.  The  duel  between  the  rudely-fashioned  ironclads 
Monitor  and  Merrimac  completely  changed  the  naval  architecture  of 
the  world,  but  who  can  tell  of  the  absolute  revolution,  not  only  in 
naval  architecture  but  in  the  methods  of  naval  warfare,  that  would 
have  resulted  from  the  trial  of  Fulton's  invention  in  actual  war  ?  In- 
stead of  being  afterward  obliged  to  fight  its  way  inch  by  inch  and 
foot  by  foot,  compelled  to  struggle  against  every  obstacle  and  every 
objection  which  jealousy,  conservatism,  and  ignorance  could  bar 
against  its  progress,  slowly  and  painfully  forcing  an  unwilling  and 
qualified  recognition  from  the  very  element  that  should  have  cham- 
pioned its  cause,  steam-power  would  have  appeared  in  the  arena  fully 
armed  and  equipped  from  the  brain  of  its  master,  and  would  have 
been  hailed  not  only  as  an  auxiliary,  but  as  an  all-important  arm  in 
naval  warfare. 

The  dimensions  of  the  Demologos  were:  length,  one  hundred 
and  fifty-six  feet;  breadth,  fifty-six  feet;  depth,  twenty  feet;  ton- 
nage, two  thousand  four  hundred  and  seventy-five;  water-wheel, 
sixteen  feet  in  diameter,  fourteen  feet  wide,  four  feet  dip;  engine, 
cylinder  forty-eight  inches  diameter,  and  five  feet  stroke;  boiler, 
length,  twenty- two  feet;  breadth,  twelve  feet;  depth,  eight  feet. 

The  total  cost  of  the  vessel  was  % 320, 000,  or  about  the  cost  of 
a  first-class  frigate,  the  Constitution,  built  in  1797,  having  cost  origi- 
nally $302,719. 

A  comparision  of  these  dimensions  with  the  views  of  this  pio- 
neer war-steamer  given  in  this  chapter  shows  that  the  drawings  are 
somewhat  out  of  proportion  to  the  scale  marked  on  them;  they  are, 
nevertheless,  of  great  interest  and  value  as  being  exact  copies  of  the 


Figure  1*  Tiwuverse &c7unAAerJtoi/er,B  the  steam E^ine^t/tewaiBri^hpel, 

EE  her  wockn.  vaSs 5fee t  thick, d^uu^u^tiibelim' the  ^cd^rluufss  s{Y^,i 

Fig.  I. 

'MsTiergwiiieck  itOfeet  Ima ». 
~^&fel  vide,  mmmbyZOgimsAJiMWgler wheel 






originals  made  by  Robert  Fuken  and  exhibited  by  him  to  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States  when  advocating  his  plan  of  applying  steam 
to  naval  warfare.  Fulton  had  his  interview  with  the  Executive  late 
in  1813  and  his  project  was  zealously  accepted,  Congress,  in  March, 
1814,  authorhskig  the  President  to  have  built  and  equipped  one  or 
more  such  floating  batteries  for  the  defense  of  the  coast. 

The  Coast  and  Harbor  Defense  Association,  having  charge  of 
the  building  of  war  vessels,  committed  the  building  of  the  Demologos 
to  a  sub-committee  of  five  prominent  gentlemen,  and  Eobert  Fulton 
was  appointed  the  engineer  in  charge  of  the  work.  The  complete 
vessel — hull,  engines  and  boilers — was  designed  by  Fulton  and  the 
engines  and  boilers  were  built  by  him  at  his  machine  works  on  the 
North  River.  The  hull  was  built  at  the  ship-yard  of  Adam  and  Noah 
Brown  on  the  East  River  and  was  launched  in  the  presence  of  a  great 
multitude  of  spectators,  October  29,  1814,  a  little  more  than  four 
months  after  the  keds  were  laid.  The  plural  is  used  intentionally, 
as  the  structure,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  drawings,  consisted  of  two 
hulk  with  the  paddle-wheel  working  in  a  channel  or  canal  between 
them;  this  canal  was  not  continuous  from  end  to  end  of  the  vessel, 
but  is  described  as  occupying  a  space  of  about  sixty  feet  adjacent  to 
the  wheel,  with  its  approaches  presumably  sloped  off  to  prevent  the 
action  of  the  wheel  from  being  inutile. 

In  November  the  hull  was  moved  from  the  ship-yard  to  Fulton's 
engine  works  and  the  machinery  installed,  that  labor  being  com- 
pleted by  the  end  of  May,"  1815.  Certain  changes  were  made  in  the 
vessel  about  this  time  on  the  recommendation  of  Captain  David  Porter, 
who  had  just  returned  home  from  his  unfortunate  cruise  with  the  Es- 
sex and  had  been  assigned  to  the  command  of  the  war-steamer.  The 
original  plan  was  to  rely  upon  steam  alone  for  propulsion,  but  Por- 
ter regarded  this  with  misgiving  and  caused  two  large  masts  to  be 
stepped  to  support  latteen  sails,  and  bowsprits  for  jibs,  with  all  the 
accompanying  top-hamper;  he  also  had  the  sides,  originally  stopped 
flush  at  the  spar  deck,  carried  up  to  form  protecting  bulwarks  for  the 
sailors  who  would  be  on  deck  attending  to  the  sails  and  rigging  that 
had  been  added.  The  boiler,  or  "  caldron  for  preparing  her  steam," 
as  the  gentlemen  having  charge  of  the  work  called  it  in  their  report, 
was  also  changed,  probably  by  Fulton's  direction,  and  two  boilers 
were  installed  instead  of  one.     Owing  to  the  rigor  of  the  British 


blockade  about  New  York,  guns  for  the  vessel  had  to  be  hauled  over- 
land from  Philadelphia,  they  having  been  taken  from  an  armed  British 
ship  named  John,  of  Lancaster,  captured  by  the  President  early  in  the 
war.  In  June,  1815,  the  Demologos  steamed  about  New  York  Bay 
to  try  her  machinery  and  found  its  performance  to  exceed  every  ex- 
pectation; in  the  words  of  an  early  writer,  "she  exhibited  a  novel 
and  sublime  spectacle  to  an  admiring  people." 

On  the  fourth  of  July  of  the  same  year,  she  made  a  passage  to 
the  ocean  and  back,  steaming  fifty-three  miles  in  all,  without  any  aid 
from  her  sails,  in  eight  hours  and  twenty  minutes;  the  wind  and  tide 
were  partly  in  her  favor  and  partly  against  her,  the  average  rather  in 
her  favor.  In  September  she  made  another  trial  trip  to  the  sea,  and 
having  at  this  time  the  weight  of  her  whole  armament  on  board,  she 
went  at  an  average  of  five  and  a  half  miles  an  hour,  with  and  against 
the  tide.  When  stemming  the  tide,  which  ran  at  the  rate  of  three 
miles  an  hoar,  she  advanced  at  the  rate  of  two  and  a  half  miles  an 
hour.  This  performance  was  not  more  than  equal  to  Robert  Fulton's 
expectations,  but  it  exceeded  what  he  had  promised  to  the  govern- 
ment, which  was  that  she  should  be  propelled  by  steam  at  the  rate 
of  from  three  to  four  miles  an  hour. 

The  British  were  not  uninformed  as  to  the  preparations  which 
were  making  for  them,  nor  inattentive  to  their  progress.  It  is  cer- 
tain that  the  steam  battery  lost  none  of  her  terrors  in  the  reports  or 
imaginations  of  the  enemy,  as  we  find  the  following  information  in  a 
treatise  on  steam  vessels  published  in  Scotland  at  that  time,  the  au- 
thor stating  that  he  had  taken  great  care  to  procure  full  and  accurate 

"Length  on  deck,  three  hundred  feet;  breadth,  two  hundred 
feet;  thickness  of  her  sides,  thirteen,  feet  of  alternate  oak  plank  and 
cork  wood — carries  forty-four  guns,  four  of  which  are  hundred  pound- 
ers; quarter-deck  and  forecastle  guns,  forty-four  pounders;  and 
further  to  annoy  an  enemy  attempting  to  board,  can  discharge  one 
hundred  gallons  of  boiling  water  in  a  minute,  and  by  mechanism 
brandishes  three  hundred  cutlasses  with  the  utmost  regularity  over  her 
gunwales;  works  also  an  equal  number  of  heavy  iron  pikes  of  o-reat 
length,  darting  them  from  her  sides  with  prodigious  force,  and  with- 
drawing them  every  quarter  of  a  minute!" 


















By  one  of  those  inexplicable  cruelties  of  fate,  Mr.  Fulton,  whose 
heart  and  soul  were  absorbed  in  the  progress  of  his  structure,  was 
taken  ill  and  died  suddenly  in  February,  1815,  before  the  vessel  was 
completed,  so  he  never  knew  of  the  great  success  he  had  achieved. 
Referring  to  this  sad  event,  the  report  of  the  construction  committee 
says:  "Their  exertions  were  further  retarded  by  the  premature  and 
unexpected  death  of  the  engineer.  The  world  was  deprived  of  his 
invaluable  labors  before  he  had  completed  his  favorite  undertaking. 
They  will  not  inquire,  wherefore,  in  the  dispensations  of  a  Divine 
Providence,  he  was  not  permitted  to  realize  his  grand  conception. 
His  discoveries,  however,  survive  for  the  benefit  of 'mankind,  and  will 
extend  to  unborn  generations." 

The  same  committee  report,  signed  by  Messrs.  Samuel  L. 
Mitchell,  Thomas  Morris,  and  Henry  Rutgers,  contains  many  opin- 
ions and  recommendations  of  great  wisdom,  indicating  that  the  men 
of  those  days  were  more  far-seeing  and  thoughtful  than  those  of  a 
later  generation,  and  more  disposed  to  appreciate  the  importance  of 
new  discoveries.  Although  written  eighty  years  ago,  the  following 
paragraphs  from  the  report  sound  not  unlike  the  more  progressive 
naval  opinions  of  to-day,  especially  in  that  part  relating  to  the  neces- 
sity of  training  men  for  steam  service,  a  subject  that  has  been  re- 
commended and  as  regularly  neglected  from  time  to  time  ever  since 

' '  The  Commissioners  congratulate  the  Government  and  the  na- 
tion on  the  event  of  this  noble  project.  Honorable  alike  to  its  au- 
thor and  its  patrons,  it  constitutes  an  era  in  warfare  and  the  arts. 
The  arrival  of  peace,  indeed,  has  disappointed  the  expectations  of 
conducting  her  to  battle.  That  last  and  conclusive  act  of  showing 
her  superiority  in  combat,  has  not  been  in  the  power  of  the  Commis- 
sioners to  make. 

"If  a  continuance  of  tranquility  should  be  our  lot,  and  this 
steam  vessel  of  war  be  not  required  for  the  public  defense,  the  nation 
may  rejoice  that  the  fact  we  have  ascertained  is  of  incalculably  greater 
value  than  the  expenditure — and  that  if  the  present  structure  should 
perish,  we  have  the  information  never  to  perish,  how,  in  a  future 
emergency,  others  may  be  built.  The  requisite  variations  will  be 
dictated  by  circumstances. 


'  'Owing  to  the  cessation  of  hostilities,  it  has  been  deemed  inexpe- 
dient to  finish  and  equip  her  as  for  immediate  and  active  employ.  In 
a  few  weeks  everything  that  is  incomplete  could  receive  the  proper 

"After  so  much  has  been  done,  and  with  such  encouraging  re- 
sults, it  becomes  the  Commissioners  to  recommend  that  the  steam 
frigate  be  officered  and  manned  for  discipline  and  practice.  A  dis- 
creet commander,  with  a  selected  crew,  could  acquire  experience  in 
the  mode  of  navigating  this  peculiar  vessel.  The  supplies  of  fuel, 
the  tending  of  the  fires,  the  replenishing  of  the  expended  water,  the 
management  of  the  mechanism,  the  heating  of  shot,  the  exercise  of 
the  guns,  and  various  matters,  can  only  become  familiar  by  use.  It 
is  highly  important  that  a  portion  of  tie  seamen  and  marines  should 
be  versed  in  the  order  and  economy  of  the  steam  frigate.  They  will 
augment,  diffuse,  and  perpetuate  knowledge.  When,  in  process  of 
time,  another  war  shall  call  for  more  structures  of  this  kind,  men, 
regularly  trained  to  her  tactics,  may  be  dispatched  to  the  several  sta- 
tions where  they  may  be  wanted." 

There  being  no  active  service  in  the  navy  against  the  enemy; 
the  Demologos,  or  Fulton,  as  she  was  afterward  named,  was  taken 
to  the  Brooklyn  navy  yard  and  used  as  a  receiving  ship  for  many 
years, until, on  the  fourth  day  or  June,  1829,  her  magazine,  containing 
two  and  one-half  barrels  of  damaged  powder  used  for  firing  the  morn- 
ing and  evening  gun,  blew  up,  entirely  destroying  the  vessel,  killing 
twenty-four  persons  and  wounding  nineteen  others.  Lieutenant  S. 
M.  Breckenridge  was  among  the  killed,  as  was  also  a  woman  who 
happened  to  be  on  board  at  the  time.  The  cause  of  the  explosion  has 
never  been  known,  although  there  was  a  tale  current  at  the  time  that 
it  was  the  deliberate  act  of  a  gunner's  mate  who  had  been  disrated 
and  flogged  the  morning  of  the  day  on  which  the  catastrophe  occur- 
red. It  is  also  said  to  have  resulted  from  gross  carelessness,  survi- 
vors stating  that  the  powder  was  kept  in  open  kegs  and  that  in  the 
"bag-room"  next  the  magazine,  and  separated  from  it  only  by  a 
light  bulkhead  in  which  was  a  sliding  door,  the  marine  sergeant  had 
a  desk  and  was  allowed  to  use  an  open  light.  Whatever  the  cause, 
the  destruction  was  complete,  and  terminated  the  history  of  the 
first  steam  vessel  of  war  ever  built. 


No  engineers  came  into  the  navy  because  ©f  the  existence  of 
the  Demologos,  men  from  Fulton's  works  having  operated  the  machin- 
ery on  the  three  occasions  when  she  was  under  way  with  her  own 
steam,  and  her  engines  were  not  moved  after  she  was  laid  up  in  the 
navy  yard.  The  next  steamer  to  appear  in  the  navy  was  the  galliot 
Sea  Gull,  of  one  hundred  tons,  purchased  in  New  York  for  $16,000 
in  1822  and  used  as  a  despatch  boat  in  Porter's  "Mosquito  fleet," 
employed  in  the  West  Indies  for  the  suppression  of  piracy  in  1823- 
24.  There  is  no  record  of  the  men  who  had  charge  of  the  machinery 
of  this  little  craft  and  we  can  only  surmise  that  they  were  probably  the 
same  who  had  run  her  before  she  was  purchased,  and  that  their  con- 
nection with  the  service  was  merely  temporary.  The  Sea  Gull  was 
laid  up  in  1825  at  Philadelphia,  where  she  remained  until  1840  when 
she  was  sold  for  $4,750. 

For  ten  years  after  the  Sea  Gull  was  laid  up,  steamers  do  not 
appear  in  the  official  literature  of  the  navy,  though  the  same  period 
witnessed  a  most  wonderful  development  of  the  application  of  steam 
to  navigation  for  commercial  purposes,  and  steamers  had  visited"In- 
dia,  China,  the  West  Indies  and  other  parts  of  the  world,  as  well  as 
having  made  the  trans-Atlantic  voyage  no  longer  a  marvellous  one 
when  performed  under  steam.  That  our  navy  was  not  the  only  one 
to  remain  in  ignorance  and  indifference  while  this  great  change  in 
marine  affairs  was  going  on  all  about  it,  is  shown  by  the  circumstance 
that  in  1831  a  steamer  built  in  Quebec  was,  while  on  a  peaceful  voy- 
age to  London,  fired  on  by  a  British  frigate  in  the  Gulf  of  St.  Law- 
rence and  compelled  to  heave-to  until  the  officers  of  the  frigate  were 
satisfied  that  there  was  nothing  diabolical  in  her  construction.  This 
same  steamer,  the  Royal  William  by  name,  was  sold  after  arriving 
in  London  to  the  Spanish  government,  and,  under  the  name  of  Isa- 
bella the  Second,  became  the  first  steam  war-ship  of  that  nation. 

In  1835,  under  date  of  June  26,  Mr.  Mahlon  Dickerson,  then 
Secretary  of  the  Navy,  addressed  a  letter  to  the  Board  of  Navy  Com- 
missioners, calling  attention  to  an  act  of  Congress  dated  April  29, 
1816,  which  authorized  the  construction  of  a  steam  vessel,  and  re- 
questing that  the  Board  take  immediate  measures  for  commencing  and 
completing  such  vessel;  further  directing  that  plans  of  the  vessel 
and  machinery  be  submitted  to  the  Department  for  the  approval  of 
the  President. 


At  that  time  there  were  about  700  steam  vessels  in  use  on  the 
waters  of  the  United  States,  the  most  of  them  being  on  the  rivers  and 
lakes,  although  some  coastwise  steamship  lines  had  been  established: 
with  few  exceptions  these  vessels  were  not  larger  than  a  modern  steam 
tug,  and  their  machinery  was  of  the  most  crude  design  and  workman- 
ship, the  chief  object  being  to  hammer  together  a  boiler  that  would  not 
leak  too  much  to  prevent  the  accumulation  of  some  steam  within  it, 
and  to  hew  out  of  heavy  iron  castings  a  cylinder  with  a  roughly- fitted 
piston  that  could  be  forced  to  move  back  and  forth  under  steam-pres- 
sure with  reasonable  regularity.  There  were  at  that  time,  of  course, 
men  of  scientific  attainments  who  were  giving  attention  to  the  theory 
of  the  steam  engine,  and  who  had  made  considerable  progress  toward 
the  solution  of  those  thermo-dynamic  problems,  the  knowledge  of 
which  in  our  own  day  has  made  the  steam  engine  a  comparatively 
economical  machine. 

To  these  experts,  who  were  usually  the  managers  or  superintend- 
ents of  the  larger  engine-building  establishments  then  in  existence, 
the  Board  of  Navy  Commissioners  appealed  for  advice  and  help,  but 
it  does  not  appear  from  the  records  that  any  great  amount  of  comfort 
was  derived  in  this  manner.  One  Wm.  Kemble,  who  was  the  agent 
for  the  West  Point  Foundry  Association,  cheerfully  supplied  the  Board 
with  dissertations  on  the  comparative  merits  of  condensing  and  high- 
pressure  engines  and  the  theory  of  working  steam  expansively,  giv- 
ing copious  opinions  of  Watt,  Trevithick,  Oliver  Evans,  and  other 
authorities,  all  of  which  must  have  been  highly  interesting  reading 
for  the  Board.  One  of  these  letters  closes  as  follows:  "I  have  given 
you  our  views  candidly,  but  we  are  ready  to  execute  any  plan  which 
the  more  extensive  views  and  experience  of  the  Board  may  decide 
on. ' '  Whether  this  was  the  irony  of  an  expert  who  appreciated  the 
humor  of  the  situation,  or  was  simply  the  homage  demanded  by  the 
standing  of  the  Board  of  Navy  Commissioners,  is  open  to  doubt,  but 
as  no  catastrophe  to  Mr.  Kemble  followed,  we  may  conclude  that  the 
Board  accepted  this  insinuation  of  its  engineering  wisdom  as  a  proper 
and  customary  due. 

Construction  work  on  the  hull  of  the  vessel  went  forward  rapidly 
at  the  New  York  navy  yard,  but  the  Navy  Commissioners  do  not  seem 
to  have  made  corresponding  progress  in  mastering  the  science  of  ma- 
rine engineering,  for  we  find  them  presently  driven  to  the  extremity 
of  addressing  the  following  letter  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy: 


"Navy  Comahssioiusbs'  Office,  December  30, 1835. 
"  Sie:  The  Commissioners  of  the  Navy  have,  in  conformity  with 
the  terms  of  your  letter  of  the  26th  instant,  caused  an  advertisement 
to  be  published  asking  for  proposals  for  furnishing  the  steam  engines 
for  the  the  steam  vessel  now  building  at  New  York.  From  their  ig- 
norance upon  the  subject  of  steam  engines  they  are  in  doubt  whether 
the  advertisement  gives  the  necessary  information  to  enable  persons  to 
make  proper  offers.  They  are  satisfied  that  they  are  incompetent 
themselves,  and  have  no  person  under  their  direction  who  could  fur- 
nish them  with  the  necessary  information  to  form  a  contract  for  steam 
engines  that  may  secure  the  United  States  from  imposition,  disap- 
pointment, and  loss,  should  the  lowest  offers  happen  to  be  made  by 
persons  whose  general  character  and  responsibility  would  not  offer 
great  security  for  their  completing  the  engines  in  the  best  manner, 
according  to  the  intentions  and  wishes  of  the  board,  in  case  the  pre- 
cise terms  of  the  contract  should  leave  them  a  legal  opportunity  of 
evading  its  spirit. 

"The  board  beg  leave,  therefore,  to  request  your  authority  for 
engaging  some  person  who  may  be  deemed  competent  to  advise  them 
upon  this  subject,  and  to  superintend  and  inspect  the  engines  during 
their  progress,  and  until  they  shall  be  satisfactorily  tested,  and  to 
designate  the  fund  from  which  his  compensation  shall  be  paid. 

"Respectfully,  etc., 

"John  Rodgees." 

This  request  for  the  professional  services  of  an  engineer  not  meet- 
ing with  any  immediate  response  from  the  Secretary,  the  board  re- 
newed its  call  for  help  a  month  later  by  the  following  communication: 

"Sie:  The  board  would  respectfully  recall  your  attention  to 
their  letter  of  the  30th  ultimo,  in  relation  to  the  employment  of  an 
engineer;  his  services  will  be  much  wanted  in  superintending  the  con- 
struction and  arrangement  of  the  engines  and  boilers,  and  afterwards 
to  work  them  in  the  vessel.  As  it  will  be  desirable  to  obtain  satis- 
factory testimonials  of  the  qualifications  of  any  person  who  may  be 
thus  employed,  which  may  consume  some  time,  an  early  decision  may 
prove  advantageous. 

"Respectfully,  etc., 

"John  Rodgees." 


Mr.  Charles  H.  Haswell  of  New  York  became  an  applicant  for 
the  position  of  engineer  which  the  Board  of  Navy  Commissioners  was 
so  anxious  to  have  filled,  but  his  appointment  was  not  made  until  the 
Board  had  taken  occasion,  while  admitting  the  excellence  of  his  pro- 
fessional knowledge  as  shown  by  his  testimonials  and  conversation, 
to  express  grave  doubts  as  to  his  practical  familiarity  with  the  manipu- 
lation of  marine  machinery,  from  which  circumstance  we  of  this  day, 
who  not  infrequently  encounter  the  same  criticism,  may  see  that  the 
mistrust,  inconsequential  as  it  is,  is  by  no  means  new.  The  Board 
qualified  its  doubt  in  Mr.  Haswell's  case  with  the  following  ingenu- 
ous confession:  "How  far  such  practical  knowledge  may  be  absolutely 
necessary,  or  can  be  supplied  by  superior  information  upon  the  con- 
struction of  the  engine  itself,  the  Board  has  no  means  of  determining, 
except  such  as  are  common  to  other  persons."  Mr.  Haswell's  ap- 
pointment, made  two  days  after  the  comments  of  the  Board  were  sub- 
mitted to  the  Department,  reads  as  follows: 

"  Navy  Department,  February  19, 1836. 

"  Sir:  In  your  letter  to  the  Commissioners  of  the  Navy  yester- 
day, you  offer  to  furnish  draughts  of  a  high  and  low-pressure  steam 
engine  and  boiler,  on  different  elevations,  suitable  for  the  steam  ves- 
sel now  constructing  by  the  Government  of  the  United  States,  for  the 
purposes  stated. 

"You  are  therefore  appointed,  for  the  term  of  two  months,  to 
make  such  draughts  and  report  the  same  to  the  Board  of  Navy  Com- 
missioners, for  which  you  will  receive  a  compensation  of  two  hundred 
and  fifty  dollars. 

"Mahlon  Dickeeson. 

"To  Mr.  C.  H.  Haswell,  Washington." 

In  mid- summer  following,  under  date  of  July  12th,  1836,  Mr. 
Haswell  was  appointed  chief  engineer  for  the  Fidton,  as  the  steam- 
vessel  then  building  was  named;  he  thus  becoming  the  first  person  to 
hold  the  position  of  engineer  in  the  United  States  navy.  Mr.  Has- 
well was  then  an  engineer  of  ability  and  established  professional  rep- 
utation, being  earnestly  engaged  in  the  task,  at  that  time  a  doubtful 
one,  of  proving  the  reliability  of  steam  as  a  marine  motor,  independ- 
ent of  any  aid  from  sails.     To  him  has  been  granted  a  privilege  that 



comes  to  few  men  in  any  calling  on  this  earth,  for  it  has  been  his  for- 
tune to  witness  the  emblem  of  his  profession — the  steamship — grow 
from  its  awkward  infancy  to  its  present  gigantic  and  perfected  form, 
a  development  in  which  he  has  had  a  prominent  part  during  all  these 
decades,  and  which  in  the  completeness  of  the  changes  that  have  been 
wrought,far  exceeds  the  magical  transformations  of  a  dream  or  the  en- 
chantments of  a  fairy-tale.  In  the  great  harbor  where,  as  a  young 
man,  he  saw  the  embryo  steamer  timidly  and  alone  making  its  uncer- 
tain wake,  an  object  so  rare  that  curious  crowds  always  flocked  to 
watch  it,  he  has  been  spared  until  now  to  see  in  his  old  age  the  crude 
and  clumsy  Fulton  transformed  into  the  Columbia  or  the  New  York, 
and  the  pioneer  passenger  steamers  changed,  as  if  by  the  magician's 
wand,  into  the  Umbria,  the  Majestic,  and  the  Campania. 

V.  S.  STEAMER  FULTON   (THE  SECOND),  1837. 

The  following  were  the  principal  dimensions  of  the  Fulton: 
Length  of  vessel  between  perpendiculars. .     180  ft. 

Beam  on  deck  (extreme)  34    "  8  in. 

Depth  of  hold 12  "  2    " 

Mean  draft 10   "  6    " 

Immersed  midship  section  at  mean  draft. . .     308  square  ft. 

Weight  of  hull 470  tons. 

Depth  of  keel 12  inches. 

Displacement  at  mean  draft  (about) 1,200  tons. 

The  engines  and  boilers  were  built  by  the  West  Point  Foundry 
Association  of  New  York,  under  a  contract  dated  January  23,  1837 


the  engines  in  type  and  location  being  from  the  designs  prepared 
for  the  Board  of  Navy  Commissioners  by  Mr.  Haswell,  and  the 
boilers  from  the  designs  of  Mr.  Charles  W.  Copeland,  the  engineer 
of  the  West  Point  company.  There  were  two  horizontal  condensing 
engines  located  on  the  spar  deck,  the  cylinders  being  of  nine  feet 
stroke  and  fifty  inches  in  diameter,  each  engine  turning  a  side -wheel 
twenty-two  feet  nine  inches  in  diameter,  and  eleven  feet  six  inches 
wide.  The  contract  provided  for  a  thwartship  shaft  to  connect  the 
two  wheel  shafts,  at  an  additional  cost  of  $2,000,  if  required,  but  the 
requirement  was  not  made  and  the  vessel  was  completed  without  such 
connection.  So  undeveloped  was  the  art  of  iron  manufacture  at  that 
time  that  the  cranks  and  shafts  were  made  of  cast  iron.  The  con- 
tract price  for  the  engines  was  $40,000,  to  which  was  added  $198.57 
for  authorized  changes.  The  wheels  cost  $9,000.  The  boilers  were 
built  by  the  contractors  at  the  New  York  navy  yard  for  eight  and 
one-half  cents  a  pound,  the  Government  furnishing  the  material, 
which  consisted  of  copper  plates  and  rivet  rods  provided  in  1816  for 
another  vessel  like  the  Demologos,  which  was  never  built.  The  total 
cost  of  boilers,  including  the  material  and  labor,  was  $93,396.06. 
Originally  there  were  four  wagon-shaped  boilers  of -the  return-flue 
type,  each  sixteen  feet  long,  ten  feet  six  inches  wide,  and  nine  feet 
three  inches  high,  but  these  were  afterward  changed  to  two  boilers 
twenty-five  feet  nine  inches  long,  the  other  dimensions  remaining 
unchanged.  These  boilers  were  located  in  the  hold  under  the  en 
gines,  and  were  supplied  with  separate  smoke  pipes.  The  total  cost 
of  the  vessel  when  completed — hull,  equipments  and  machinery — 
was  $299,649.81. 

The  weight  of  engines  was  81  tons;  of  boilers,  including  smoke 
pipes,  steam  pipes  and  connections,  119  tons,  and  water  in  the  boil- 
ers, 41  tons.  On  a  trial  trip  the  following  winter,  Chief  Engineer 
Haswell  computed  the  horse-power  developed  to  be  625,  from  which 
we  observe  that  the  weight  of  machinery  per  horse-power  was  about 
three  times  as  much  as  under  present  practice. 

The  steamer  was  launched  May  18,  1837,  and  the  work  of  in- 
stalling the  machinery  immediately  undertaken;  this  work  was  much 
hindered  by  the  action  of  the  Board  of  Navy  Commissioners  in  re- 
fusing to  allow  the  hull  to  be  taken  to  the  engine  builders'  works  on 
the  North  river,  thus  compelling  the  contractors  to  transport  the  en- 


gines  in  pieces  to  the  navy  yard.  The  Commissioners,  in  refusing 
the  application  to  have  the  hull  moved,  said  that  they  did  not  "feel 
themselves  justified  in  permitting  the  vessel  to  be  moved  from  the 
navy  yard  to  a  place  over  which  they  have  no  control,"  although 
why  they  should  have  felt  this  way  is  not  apparent,  as  they  had  pre- 
viously confessed  their  incompetency  to  deal  with  matters  relating  to 
the  vessel's  machinery.  This  action  forced  the  contractors  to  file  a 
claim  for  ' '  increased  expense  in  the  putting  up  of  the  work,  together 
with  an  additional  delay  of  not  less  than  three  weeks,"  just  as  con- 
tractors do  now  when  their  work  is  retarded  by  the  interference  of 
naval  officers.     Truly,  there  is  no  new  thing  under  the  sun. 

About  the  first  of  September  Captain  Matthew  C.  Perry  took 
general  charge  of  the  steamer,  and  immediately  began  investigating 
the  subject  of  personnel  required  for  her  operation,  the  result  of  his 
researches  being  communicated  to  the  Navy  Commissioners  by  the 

following  report: 

"  New  York,  September  11, 1837. 

"  Gentlemen: — I  have  sought  to  obtain  the  best  information  in 
reference  to  the  number  of  engineers,  firemen,  &c,  that  will  be  re- 
quired for  the  steam  frigate  Fulton,  and  the  following  is  the  result 
of  the  combined  opinions  of  the  various  persons  consulted: 

"The  lowest  number  for  putting  the  engines  in  operation — 

"2  lst-class  assistant  engineers,  at  $800  per  annum. 

"2  2nd-class  assistant  engineers,  at  $500  per  annum. 

"  8  firemen,  at  from  $25  to  $30  per  month.  The  firemen  to  be 
paid  either  of  those  amounts,  at  the  discretion  of  the  captain,  as  suit- 
able persons  can  be  obtained. 

"4  or  6  coal  heavers,  at  $15  per  month. 

"Add  to  this  when  the  vessel  is  in  actual  operation 

"1  chief  engineer,  4  additional  firemen  and  4  coal  heavers. 

"The  coal  holes  are  at  the  ends  of  the  boilers,  opposite  to  the 
furnaces,  and  the  coal  must  necessarily  be  transported  some  dis- 

"These  are  the  estimates  of  Mr.  Haswell,  Mr.  Kimble  and 
several  other  competent  persons  with  whom  I  have  conferred  on  the 

"  It  is  apparent  that  no  less  than  four  engineers  will  answer  as 
it  requires  two  constantly  at  the  levers,  by  which  the  engines  are 


stopped  and  put  in  motion,  which  are  worked  on  the  spar  deck,  and 
two  at  the  engines  and  boilers  lelow  deck,  to  watch  the  machinery 
and  attend  the  water  in  the  boilers — a  most  important  consideration, 
as  by  the  least  neglect  in  this  particular  some  accident  occurs  or  the 
boilers  are  burnt. 

"  It  is  necessary,  also,  that  the  firemen  should  be  somewhat  ac- 
quainted with  the  operation  of  the  engines,  the  mode  of  supplying 
the  boilers,  &c. ,  as  also  the  mode  of  placing  the  coals  to  prevent 
the  burning  of  the  furnaces. 

' '  The  gentlemen  all  agree  that  the  above  is  the  least  number 
that  prudence  and  economy  would  authorize. 

"  The  large  North  river  and  Rhode  Island  boats  have  three  en- 
gineers each,  and  their  firemen  understand  starting  and  stopping  the 
engines,  regulating  the  steam,  &c.  Their  wages  are — for  the  chief 
engineer,  $1,000  per  annum;  two  assistants,  at  $360  and  $600  per 
annum.  Add  to  this  their  board,  which,  in  the  navy,  would  be  de- 
frayed by  themselves  all  beyond  the  ration  of  20  cents  per  day. 

"Those  denominated  first-class  assistants  for  the  navy  should 
correspond  in  qualifications  with  the  chief  engineers  of  private 
steamers,  and  their  assistants  with  the  second-class  proposed  for  the 
navy,  as  it  is  supposed  that  the  Government  can  hire  persons  on 
lower  terms. 

"It  has  been  suggested,  in  which  I  fully  concur,  that  there 
should  be  these  several  described  rates  among  the  engineers  and 
firemen  in  our  national  steamers,  the  better  to  distribute  authority 
and  responsibility,  and  to  produce  a  proper  ambition  with  the  in- 
ferior rates  to  rise  to  the  higher  classes. 

"  I  enclose  herewith  a  letter  from  Captain  William  Comstock, 
giving  his  views  on  the  subject.  And  it  may  be  remarked  here, 
that  all  concur  in  the  opinion  of  the  necessity  of  separating  the  reg- 
ular crew  from  any  interference  with  the  engineers. 

"I  would  respectfully  invite  the  attention  of  the  Commission- 
ers to  the  consideration  of  the  tenure  by  which  these  assistant  engin- 
eers are  to  hold  their  appointment,  and  by  what  authority  they  are 
to  be  granted.  It  seems  to  me  the  process  of  their  discharge,  at 
least,  should  be  summary,  and  entirely  divested  of  the  legal  forms  of 
arrest,  court-martial,  &c.  The  slightest  appearance  of  intemperance, 
neglect,  carelessness,  &c,  should  be  sufficient  cause  for  their  certain 


dismissal  from  the  service.  With  whom  is  to  rest  the  authority  to 
judge  of  these  delinquencies,  and  the  necessity  of  the  infliction  of 
the  penalty,  will,  of  course,  be  determined  on  in  time,  and  made 
known  to  the  persons  on  receiving  the  appointment. 

' '  I  have  the  honor  to  be,  gentlemen,  your  obedient  servant, 

"M    C.  Perbt. 
"To  the  Commissioners  of  the  Navy,  Washington,  D.  0." 

This  letter  is  important  in  our  history  as  a  corps,  being  the  earl- 
iest official  document  containing  so  much  as  a  hint  of  the  necessity 
of  organizing  a  permanent  corps  of  naval  engineers. 

The  Board  of  Naval  Commmissioners  agreed  to  Captain  Perry's 
recommendations  as  to  wages  for  engineers  and  firemen,  although 
remarking  that  for  the  latter  the  pay  appeared  high  in  addition  to 
the  ration,  and  referred  the  matter  to  the  Department  with  various 
recommendations.  The  Department  let  the  matter  rest  for  more  than 
a  month, 'until,  about  the  end  of  October,  Captain  Perry  reported 
the  vessel  ready  for  steam,  and  called  attention  to  the  fact  that  no 
authority  existed  for  the  employment  of  assistant  engineers,  adding 
that  their  services  were  much  needed.  The  suggestions  made  by  the 
Board  of  Navy  Commissioners  on  September  15  were  promulgated 
as  the  regulations  of  the  Department  governing  the  appointment  of 
"  these  descriptions  of  persons  for  the  steamer."  The  recommen- 
dations of  the  Board,  which  became  the  Department's  regulation,  is 
another  important  document  in  the  history  of  the  engineer  corps,  and 
is  here  given: 

"  Upon  the  subject  of  appointments  of  the  engineers,  etc.,  the 
Board  respectfully  suggest  the  expediency  of  allowing,  for  the  pres- 
ent, the  commandant  to  nominate  the  assistant  engineers,  after  col- 
lecting, as  far  as  practicable,  proofs  or  certificates  of  their  character 
and  qualifications,  sabject  to  the  confirmation  of  the  commander  of 
the  station,  when  time  will  allow  of  an  immediate  reference;  in  other 
cases,  to  be  made  by  the  commander  of  the  vessel. 

"That  they  receive  a  letter  of  appointment,  revocable  at  any 
time  by  the  commander  of  the  station  upon  complaints  of  intemper- 
ance, incapacity,  insubordination,  negligence,  or  other  misconduct, 
by  the  commander  of  the  vessel,  if  proved  to  the  satisfaction  of  such 
commanding  officer  of  the  station. 


"The  commander  of  the  vessel,  of  course,  to  have  the  power 
of  suspending  them  from  duty,  if  he  deems  it  necessary. 

"The  engineers  to  sign  some  proper  instrument,  which  will  legally 
render  them  liable  to  the  laws  for  the  government  of  the  navy,  but 
to  be  exempt  from  corporal  punishment;  which  instrument  is  to  be 
transmitted  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  with  the  letter  accepting 
their  appointment. 

"  The  firemen  and  coal-heavers  to  sign  the  shipping  articles  and 
be  removable  at  the  pleasure  of  the  commander  of  the  vessel,  as 
authorized  for  the  reduction  and  punishment  of  petty  officers  and 

This  order  was  dated  October  31,  1837,  and  was  carried  into 
effect  by  the  appointment  of  John  Faron,  Jr.,  and  Nelson  Burt  as 
first  assistant  engineers  on  November  15,  and  of  J.  C.  limes  and 
Hiram  Sanford  as  second  assistants  on  November  21.  These  ap- 
pointments were  made  by  Captain  Perry  himself,  as  shown  by  the 
following  extract  from  a  report  made  December  16  on  the  steam 
trial  of  the  Fulton: 

"  The  assistant  engineers  appointed  by  me  promise  to  be  highly 
industrious  and  useful  men.  I  have  been  much  pleased  with  their 
conduct,  and,  so  far  as  I  am  yet  capable  of  judging,  consider  them 
well  acquainted  with  their  duty;  of  one  thing  I  am  certain,  that  if 
the  vessel  is  to  be  employed  at  all,  sixteen,  instead  of  eight  firemen 
will  be  indispensably  necessary." 

On  November  1  the  engines  of  the  Fulton  were  put  in  motion 
for  the  first  time  and  the  result  was  highly  satisfactory;  "twelve  inches 
of  steam  was  produced  in  less  than  an  hour  by  chips  from  the  yard, " 
to  quote  from  Captain  Perry's  report.  During  the  ensuing  winter 
the  Fulton  was  thoroughly  tried  in  free  route  and  proved  herself  a 
success  as  a  steamer,  although  certain  peculiarities  in  construction 
precluded  her  use  as  a  cruiser  for  general  sea  purposes:  in  fact  she 
was  not  built  for  such  service,  the  primary  idea  in  her  construction 
being  to  provide  a  harbor-defense  vessel  to  take  the  place  of  the  first 
Fulton,  or  Demologos. 

Captain  Perry  reported  in  February  that  her  usual  speed  at  a 
medium  pressure  of  steam  and  twenty  revolutions  per  minute  of  the 
engines  had  been  proved  to  be  about  twelve  knots,  and  that  her 


maximum  speed,  at  a  forced  pressure,  might  be  extended  to  fifteen 
knots.     He  spoke  highly  of  her  efficiency  as  an  armed  vessel,  in 
comparision  with  vessels  of  war  not  propelled  by  steam,  and  gave 
an  opinion  resulting  from  his  observations  that  "  there  is  not  the  least 
doubt  that  sea  steamers  of  1,400  or  1,500  tons  can  be  constructed  and 
equipped  to  cruise  at  sea,  for  limited  periods  (say  twenty  days,)  as 
efficient  vessels  of  war,  to  be  as  safe  from  the  disasters  of  the  sea  as 
the  finest  frigate,  and  at  an  expense  considerably  less. "     Lieutenant 
Lynch,  attached  to  the  vessel,  in  a  written  report  stated  that  ' '  For 
harbor  and  coast  defense,  in  light  winds  and  calms,  with  a  battery 
of  long  64-pounders,  the  Fulton,  with  slight  alterations,  would  be 
perfectly  efficient,  and  more  useful  than  any  number  of  armed  ships 
not  propelled  by  steam,"  and  the  opinions  of  the  other  officers,  all 
whom  had  to  make  reports  to  Captain  Perry,  generally  agreed  to  this. 
In  Chief  Engineer  Haswell's  report  we  find  the  following  carefully 
itemized  statement  of  current  expenses  of  running  the  engines,  which 
is  both  curious  and  interesting  at  this  date: 

Engines,  3  quarts  of  oil,  at  18fc $0.56 

Engines  and  boilers,  5  pounds  of  tallow,  at  10c 50 

Engines,  2£  pounds  of  hemp,  at  12c 30 

2  pounds  of  spun  yarn,  at  12c 24 

i  pound  of  black  lead,  at  10c 10 

Paints  and  brushes 75 

Boilers,  Indian  meal 24 

Engines  and  boilers,  white  lead,  2  pounds  at  12c 24 

Lamps  and  lanterns 10 

Shovels,  brooms,  and  axes 23 

Tools 50 

For  twelve  hours $3. 66 

Off  one-sixth  per  diem  of  ten 

hours 61 


More  light  on  the  operation  of  the  machinery  is  given  by  the 
synopsis  of  the  engine-room  log,  here  following  in  the  form  of  the 
engineer's  weekly  report  for  one  of  the  weeks  that  the  vessel  was 
under  steam  a  considerable  part  of  the  time: 


























































•paumsuoo  tboo  jo  "tig 

•p9,iisaoo  pooAi  jo  spjog 

■pnj  Sammsaoo  annx 

•nopee-isdo  at  saai8a;a; 

•jjo  Sauioiq  jo  arajx 

•^sai  ye  soaiSag; 

•suoyjiipAai  a9ei3Ay 

•mntiouA  aSaiaA-y 

•ainssajd  aSiusAy 

■pasn  samSag; 

■pasn  Bj9[ioa 

•oxeafs  3aistui  jo  anrjx 




o  s  S  "g  c  ! 

3  S  8.8  &.! 
o  8  f  ^  to 

K    (B 

;  "2  .2  f  =3 

i   ^^ 

5  J(  •«   o  « 

►<  _d  .2  _L  ■" 

03   CI     3    04   52 


lO        CD       | 

CO       <N        IN        CO 

iH       O     tNCN     SN 

"?     i-ICO     rH 

W        CM     NcN     CM 

■*    -*N    ■* 











































When  the  Fulton  was  put  in  commission  with  a  regular  com- 
plement of  officers  and  men  on  board,  the  question  of  what  to  do 
with  the  engineers  as  to  their  quarters  and  messing  arrangements 
came  up,  and  was  a  difficult  one  to  settle,  because  there  were  no  pre- 
cedents to  follow  and  no  regulations  regarding  the  new  class  of  offi- 
cials. Fortunately  for  Mr.  Haswell,  and  for  those  who  came  after 
him  as  well,  his  social  status  was  such,  that  his  place  among  the  offi- 
cers was  obviously  in  the  ward  room,  and  to  that  part  of  the  ship  he 
was  assigned  irrespective  of  the  fact  that  he  held  no  commission  and 
no  rank  in  the  service.  The  precedent  thus  established  of  assigning 
the  chief  engineer  to  the  ward-room  operated  to  the  benefit  of  other 
chief  engineers  in  the  following  years,  until,  in  1842,  the  quarters 
for  chief  engineers  on  board  ship  were  specified  by  law  to  be  in  the 
ward-room.  The  assistant  engineers  of  the  Fulton  were  berthed  and 
messed  with  the  warrant  officers. 

In  April,  1838,  the  Fulton  visited  Norfolk  and  Washington  and 
was  an  object  of  general  attention,  especially  at  the  national  capitol. 
In  September  of  the  same  year,  in  consequence  of  a  discussion  that 
was  related  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  she  was  ordered  back  to 


=  D 

KETURN  DBOP-FLTJB  BOII.KBS,  V.  S.  S.  FULTON  (3d),  1850. 

Diameter  of  shells  10  feet,  6  inches.    Length,  22  feet. 
Length  of  furnace,  7  feet.    Height  of  furnace  6  feet,  3  inches. 
Diameter  of  flues,  two  upper  rows,  16  inches.    Lower  row,  25  inches. 
Diameter  of  steam  drum,  7  ft,  3  in.    Diameter  of  smoke  pipe,  5  ft.  3  in. 

New  York  for  the  express  purpose  of  testing  her  speed  with  that  of 
the  British  steamer  Cheat  Western,  running  between  New  York  and 
Liverpool.     The  Fulton  followed  the  latter  vessel  to  sea  on  the  oc- 


casion  of  her  regular  departure,  ranged  up  alongside  and  passed  her 
rapidly.  After  being  employed  in  active  service  along  the  Atlantic 
coast  of  the  United  States  until  1842,  the  Fulton  was  laid  up  in  or- 
dinary at  the  New  York  navy  yard,  where  she  remained  a  neglected 
and  useless  hulk  until  1851.  In  the  latter  year  the  machinery  was 
entirely  replaced  by  a  different  type,  designed  under  the  direction  of 
Mr.  Charles  B.  Stuart,  then  engineer-in-chief  of  the  navy.  There 
was  a  single  inclined  engine  mounted  on  a  wooden  frame,  the  cylin 
der  being  fifty  inches  in  diameter  and  ten  feet  four  inches  stroke, 
provided  with  a  Sickel's  cut-off.  The  old  copper  boilers  were  re- 
placed with  two  wrought  iron  ones  of  the  double-return,  drop-flue 
variety,  ten  feet  six  inches  in  diameter  and  twenty-two  feet  long. 
Feathering  paddle  wheels  were  substituted  for  the  original  radial 
wheels.     The  shaft  of  this  engine  was  of  wrought  iron. 

The  hull  was  hauled  on  the  ways  and  thoroughly  repaired,  the 
upper  deck  and  high  bulwarks  being  removed  and  the  interior  ar- 
rangements were  completely  changed  because  of  the  altered  arrange- 
ment of  the  machinery,  but  the  original  lines  of  the  ship  were  not 
disturbed.  The  rig  was  changed  to  a  two-masted  fore-topsail 
schooner.  A  trial  trip  was  run  January  1,  1852,  in  New  York  har- 
bor, seventy-one  and  one-half  miles  being  run  under  steam  between  ■ 
various  intervals  of  stopping,  sailing,  backing,  etc.,  which  interrup- 
tions completely  destroy  the  results  as  a  steam  trial.  The  report  of 
this  trial  gives  the  average  steam  pressure  as  twenty-five  pounds; 
average  vacuum,  twenty  six  inches;  average  revolutions,  twenty- 
one,  and  average  speed,  13.34  miles  per  hour.  For  a  period  of 
twenty-one  minutes  at  the  end  of  the  performance,  with  thirty  pounds 
of  steam  and  twenty-three  revolutions,  the  distance  run  is  given  as 
seven  miles,  or  at  the  rate  of  twenty  miles  per  hour.  Unfortunately 
the  report  does  not  state  the  condition  of  the  wind  and  tide  at  that 
period,  so  we  do  not  know  whether  the  high  speed  was  due  entirely 
to  the  engines  or  not.  It  is  a  matter  of  record,  however,  that  the 
vessel  had  a  reputation  in  the  service  as  a  very  fast  sieamer.  She 
was  employed  on  general  cruising  duty  in  the  home  squadron  and 
West  Indies  for  several  years,  was  one  of  the  vessels  of  the  Paraguay 
expedition  in  1858,  and  in  1861  was  in  ordinary  at  the  Pensacola 
navy  yard. 

The  Pensacola  yard  was  surrendered  to  the  Confederates  Jan- 


nary  10,  1861,  and  the  Fulton  thus  fell  into  their  hands  ;  she  was 
then  in  very  bad  condition,  having  sometime  previously  been  strand- 
ed and  nearly  wrecked  near  Fensacola,  but  her  captors  hauled  her 
on  the  building-ways  and  began  repairing  her.  May  9,  1862,  mil- 
itary operations  compelled  the  Confederates  to  abandon  the  yard, 
they  burning  everything  behind  them.  An  account  of  this  destruc- 
tion is  given  in  Mr.  J.  T.  Scharf's  History  of  the  Confederate 
States  Navy,  in  which  account  appears  the  last  historical  reference 
to  this  famous  old  steamer — "The  Fulton,  that  was  on  the  stocks 
in  the  navy  yard,  was  burned." 

This  story  of  the  old  Fulton  would  be  incomplete  without  a 
special  reference  to  the  invaluable  services  rendered  by  Captain  M. 
C.  Perry  to  the  steam  navy  which  her  example  called  into  life,  his 
able  championship  of  engines  and  engineers  in  connection  with  her 
having  properly  given  him  a  place  in  our  naval  history  as  the  father 
of  the  American  steam  navy.  Matthew  C.  Perry  was  a  younger 
brother  of  that  other  Perry  who  overcame  the  British  on  Lake  Erie 
in  1813,  which  event  is  so  nearly  synonymous  in  the  public  mind 
with  the  name  of  Perry  that  the  deeds  of  the  younger  brother,  some 
of  which  were  of  more  lasting  importance  than  the  mere  winning  of 
a  battle,  have  been  dimmed  by  contrast.  Captain  Perry's  services 
to  the  naval  engineer  corps  in  connection  with  his  command  of  the 
Fulton  were  both  important  and  lasting,  and  can  best  be  told  by 
quoting  from  his  biography,  written  by  a  distinguished  civilian,  Rev- 
erend Wm.  E.  Griffis,  another  of  whose  books,  "  The  Mikado's 
Empire,"  has  been  a  source  of  instruction  and  pleasure  to  hundreds 
of  our  naval  officers  of  the  present  time  who  have  had  the  privilege 
of  seeing  the  shores  of  beautiful  Japan: 

"  Perry  took  command  of  the  Fulton  October  4th,  1837,  when 
the  smoke-pipes  were  up,  and  the  engines  ready  for  an  early  trial. 
His  work  meant  more  than  to  hasten  forward  the  completion  of  the 
new  steam  battery.  He  was  practically  to  organize  an  entirely  new 
branch  of  naval  economy.  There  were  in  the  marine  war  service  of 
the  United  States  absolutely  no  precedents  to  guide  him. 

"Again  he  had  to  be  'an  educator  of  the  navy.'  To  show  how 
far  the  work  was  left  to  him,  and  was  his  own  creation,  we  may 
state  that  no  authority  had  been  given  and  no  steps  taken  to  secure 
firemen,  assistant  engineers,  or  coal  heavers.        The  details    duties 


qualifications,  wages,  and  status  in  the  navy  of  the  whole  engineer 
corps  fell  upon  Perry  to  settle.  He  wrote  for  authority  to  appoint 
first  and  second-class  engineers.  He  proposed  that  $25  to  f  30  a 
month,  and  one  ration,  should  be  given  as  pay  to  firemen,  and  that 
they  should  be  good  mechanics  familiar  with  machinery,  the  use  of 
stops,  cocks,  gauges,  and  the  paraphernalia  of  iron  and  brass  so 
novel  on  a  man-of-war. 

"Knowing  that  failure  in  the  initiative  of  the  experimental 
steam  service  might  prejudice  the  public,  and  especially  the  incred- 
ulous and  sneering  old  salts  who  had  no  faith  in  the  new  fangled 
ideas,  he  requested  that  midshipmen  for  the  Fulton,  should  be  first 
trained  in  seamanship  prior  to  their  steamer  life.  He  was  also 
especially  particular  about  the  moral  and  personal  character  of  the 
'line'  officers  who  were  first  to  live  in  contact  with  a  new  and  strange 
kind  of  'staff. '  It  is  difficult  in  this  age  of  war-steamers,  when  a 
sailing  man-of-war  or  even  a  paddle-wheel  steamer  is  a  curiosity,  to 
realize  the  jealousy  felt  by  sailors  of  the  old  school  towards  the 
un-naval  men  of  gauges  and  stop-cocks.  They  foresaw  only  too 
clearly  that  steam  was  to  steal  away  the  poetry  of  the  sea,  turn  the 
sailor  into  a  coal  heaver,  and  the  ship  into  a  machine. 

"Perry  demanded  in  his  line  officers  breadth  of  view  sufficient 
to  grasp  the  new  order  of  things.  They  must  see  in  the  men  of 
screws  and  levers  equality  of  courage  as  well  as  of  utility.  They 
must  be  of  the  co-operative  cast  of  mind  and  disposition.  From  the 
very  first,  he  foresaw  that  jealousy  amounting  almost  to  animosity 
would  spring  up  between  the  line  and  staff  officers,  between  the  deck 
and  the  hold,  and  he  determined  to  reduce  it  to  a  minimum.  The 
new  middle  term  between  courage  and  cannon  was  caloric.  He 
would  provide  precedents  to  act  as  anti-friction  buffers  so  as  to 
secure  a  maximum  of  harmony. 

"That  was  Matthew  Perry — ever  magnifying  his  office  and 
profession.  He  believed  that  responsibility  helped  vastly  to  make 
the  man.  He  suggested  that  engineers  take  the  oath,  and  from 
first  to  last  be  held  to  those  sanctions  and  to  that  discipline,  which 
would  create  among  them  the  esprit  so  excellent  in  the  line  officers. " 


"So  shalt  thou  instant  reach  the  realm  assigned, 
In  wondrous  ships,  self-moved,  instinct  with  mind; 

Though  clouds  and  darkness  veiled  the  encumbered  sky, 
Fearless,  through  darkness  and  through  clouds  they  fly." 

Alexajsdeb  Pope,  translation  of  the  Odyssey. 

The  Enginbbb— The  Mississippi  and  Missouri — Establishment  of  the  Engineei 
Corps  by  Act  of  Congress— Destruction  of  the  Missouri— Career  of  the 
Mississippi— Steamers  Transferred  to  the  Navy  from  the  War  Depart- 
ment—The MicmeAW. 

BEFORE  the  completion  of  the  Fulton,  a  single  steam  vessel  ap- 
peared in  the  navy  in  the  form  of  a  small  paddle-wheel  tug- 
boat of  142  tons,  which  was  bought  in  Baltimore  in  1836  for  $18,- 
997,  and  was  named  the  Engvne&r.  This  boat  had  a  single  beam 
engine  of  about  one  hundred  horse-power,  and  one  iron  flue  boiler: 
the  vessel  was  used  as  a  tug  and  dispatch  boat  about  the  Norfolk 
navy  yard  for  a  Dumber  of  years,  and  also  did  some  service  on  the 
southern  coast  as  a  surveying  vessel.  Although  not  a  war  ves- 
sel in  any  sense,  this  craft  is  here  referred  to  because  she  was  for  a 
short  time  the  only  steamer  in  the  navy,  and  was  a  familiar  object 
to  the  early  members  of  the  engineer  corps,  many  of  whom  were  as- 
signed to  her  for  temporary  service  while  getting  broken  in  to  the 
rules  of  the  navy. 

In  1839  two  boards  of  officials  were  convened  in  Washington 
to  consider  the  method  of  carrying  out  the  provisions  of  an  act  of 
Congress  authorizing  the  construction  of  two  or  more  steam  vessels 
of  war.  One  of  these  boards  was  composed  of  commodores,  and  was 
directed  to  "  consider  and  decide  upon  the  qualities  and  power  which 
it  was  desirable  to  secure  in  the  vessels:"  the  other  was  composed 
of  naval  constructors  and  one  engineer,  Mr.  Haswell  being  the  latter, 
with  instructions  to  scrutinize  the  report  of  the  commodores,  and 
determine  whether  the  qualities  and  powers  recommended  by  them 
could  be  combined  practically,  and  if  so,  to  prepare  the  details  for 
carrying  them  out.  The  result  of  this  labor  set  in  process  of  con- 
struction two  large  side-wheel  frigates  named  the  Mississippi  and 


Missouri,  precisely  alike  in  all  respects,  except  the  type  of  engines. 
It  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  the  inauguration  of  the  policy  of  build- 
ing steam  vessels  for  the  navy  was  unattended  with  skepticism  and 
opposition;  like  the  application  of  all  great  scientific  discoveries,  the 
introduction  of  steam  power  was  combatted  and  misunderstood,  abroad 
as  well  as  in  our  own  country.  The  logic,  if  it  may  be  so  called,  of 
the  opposition  is  well  indicated  by  the  vehement  utterance  of  Lord 
Napier  in  the  British  House  of  Commons  in  a  speech  fiercely  antag- 
onistic to  the  building  of  steamers  of  war:  "Mr.  Speaker,  when 
we  enter  Her  Majesty's  naval  service  and  face  the  chances  of  war, 
we  go  prepared  to  be  hacked  in  pieces  by  cutlasses,  to  be  riddled 
with  bullets,  or  to  be  blown  to  bits  by  shot  and  shell;  but,  Mr. 
Speaker,  we  do  not  go  prepared  to  be  idled  alive.'''' 

The  principal  data  common  to  both  the  Mississippi  and  Missouri 
were  the  following: 

Length  over  all 229  feet. 

Beam 40  feet. 

Mean  draft 19  feet. 

Displacement  at  mean  draft 3,220  tons. 

The  vessels  were  bark-rigged,  spreading  19,000  square  feet  of 
canvas  in  plain  sails  to  top-gallant  sails  inclusive.  Each  vessel  had 
three  copper  boilers  of  the  double  return  ascending  flue  variety, 
with  three  furnaces  and  eighty  square  feet  of  grate  surface  in  each 
boiler;  the  heating  surface  of  each  boiler  was  2,000  square  feet,  or 
exactly  twenty-five  times  the  grate  surface.  The  paddle-wheels 
were  twenty-eight  feet  in  diameter  and  eleven  feet  broad.  The  bat- 
tery of  each  vessel  consisted  of  two  X-inch  and  eight  VHI-inch 
shell  guns.  The  Mississippi  had  two  side-lever  engines  with  cylin- 
ders seventy-five  inches  in  diameter  and  seven  feet  stroke,  and  the 
Missouri  had  two  inclined  direct-acting  engines  with  cylinders  sixty- 
two  and  one-half  inches  diameter  and  ten  feet  stroke:  the  cubical 
contents  of  the  cylinders  of  the  two  vessels  were  practically  the  same, 
a  difference  being  made  in  the  length  of  the  stroke  to  test  the  relative 
merits  of  long  and  short  stroke  engines. 

The  hulls  were  of  wood,  that  of  the  Mississippi  being  con- 
structed at  the  navy  yard,  Philadelphia,  and  that  of  the  Missouri  at 
the  New  York  navy  yard.     The  Mississippi's  machinery  was  built 



by  Merrick  and  Towne  in  the  city  of  Philadelphia,  and  that  for  the 
Missouri  by  the  West  Point  Foundry  Association  at  their  works  at 
Cold  Spring,  New  York.  The  machinery  for  both  vessels  was  de- 
signed by  Mr.  Charles  W.  Copeland,  referred  to  in  a  previous  chap- 
ter as  the  superintending  engineer  of  the  West  Point  Foundry  Asso- 
ciation at  the  time  the  engines  for  the  Milton  were  built.  He  had 
been  employed  as  a  consulting  engineer  for  the  Board  of  Navy  Com- 
missioners, and,  with  the  title  of  Principal  Engineer,  held  that  posi- 
tion for  several  years,  during  which  time  he  did  much  excellent 
work  in  designing  machinery  for  the  new  steam  navy,  although  he 
never  was  in  the  naval  service  in  the  sense  of  holding  a  commission 
as  an  officer  or  being  amenable  to  military  law  and  discipline. 

In  the  fall  of  1839,  when  the  work  of  building  these  two  ves- 
sels began,  Mr.  Haswell  was  detached  from  the  Fulton  and  assigned 
to  duty  with  Mr.  Copeland  in  New  York  to  prepare  drawings  of 
machinery  for  both  vessels.  It  was  in  the  course  of  this  work  that 
Mr.  Haswell  laid  down  the  boilers  of  both  the  new  vessels  in  full 
size,  designed  and  determined  the  dimensions  of  each  plate,  and 
thus  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of  boiler  manufacture  were  the 
plates  rolled  and  trimmed  to  measure.  In  January,  1840,  Mr. 
Faron,  the  senior  engineer  of  the  Fulton,  was  promoted  to  be  a 
chief  engineer,  detached  from  the  Fulton  and  detailed  to  superin- 
tend the  building  of  the  Mississippi's  engines  in  Philadelphia,  his 
place  on  the  Fulton  being  filled  by  Mr.  Andrew  Hebard,  who  was 
appointed  chief  engineer  from  civil  life.  Shortly  afterward  Mr. 
Haswell  was  named  as  superintendent  of  the  engines  building  for 
the  Missouri. 

The  two  frigates  were  completed  early  in  1842,  and  a  number 
of  engineers  were  appointed  in  the  manner  indicated  by  the  Depart- 
ment's regulation  on  the  subject,  quoted  in  a  former  chapter.  A  re- 
markable fact  in  connection  with  the  building  of  these  two  ships  is  the 
close  parallelism  of  their  cost,  although  they  were  built  in  different 
cities,  and  had  engines  radically  different  in  details  of  construction: 
in  1853  the  Navy  Department,  in  obedience  to  a  resolution  of  the 
House  of  Kepresentatives,  informed  Congress  that  the  actual  cost  of 
the  Mississippi  to  the  time  of  her  first  sailing,  exclusive  of  ordnance, 
was  1569,670.70,  and  of  the  Missouri,  $568,806.  Mr.  Faron  was 
the  first  chief  engineer  of  the  Mississippi,  and  Mr.  Hebard  of  the 



Principal  Engineer,  U.  S.  Navy.     Designer  of  the  machinery  of  the 
Mississippi,  Missouri,  etc. 


Missouri,  he  being  temporarily  assigned  to  that  vessel  while  Mr. 
Haswell  was  engaged  with  Mr.  Gopeland  on  the  designs  of  a  new 
steamer — the  Michigan.  This  latter  work  was  completed  in  Octo- 
ber, 1842,  when  Mr.  Haswell  returned  to  the  Missouri  as  her  chief 

After  the  appointments  for  the  two  new  frigates  were  made 
there  were  twenty  engineers  in  the  service,  with  prospects  for  the 
need  of  many  more  in  the  near  future,  as  the  policy  of  building  war 
steamers  was  so  well  established  that  there  was  no  longer  any  hope 
for  success  on  the  part  of  the  conservative  element  whieh  had  strug- 
gled against  the  new  order  of  things  so  stubbornly.  The  engineers 
were  very  much  dissatisfied  with  various  anomalies  and  evils  inci- 
dent to  their  connection  with  the  navy,  and  began  an  agitation 
which  speedily  resulted  in  the  legal  establishment  of  the  engineer 
corps  as  a  permanent  part  of  the  naval  organization.  Their  pay  did 
not  compare  favorably  with  the  wages  of  competent  engineers  in 
civil  employment,  and  consequently  was  unsatisfactory  to  them;  the 
irregular  manner  in  which  they  were  appointed,  and  their  uncertain 
tenure  of  office,  were  also  grievances,  and  early  in  the  year  with 
which  we  are  now  dealing  an  incident  occurred  which  so  provoked 
the  engineers  that  they  felt  constrained  to  lay  their  troubles  before 
Congress.  This  incident  was  the  appointment  as  an  engineer  in  the 
navy  of  a  young  man  who  made  no  pretense  to  knowledge  of  engi- 
neering, he  being  the  protege  of  a  powerfnl  politician  and  simply 
wanted  a  salaried  position  under  the  Government,  wifchont  bothering 
himself  as  to  what  the  duties  of  that  position  might  be.  That  the 
engineers  then  in  the  service  resented  this  appointment  is  good 
proof  that  there  already  existed  among  them  that  pride  in  their 
calling  and  the  esprit  de  corps  that  have  for  so  long  kept  them  united 
and  made  continuous  progress  possible  in  the  midst  of  many  dis- 

Mr.  Haswell,  as  the  senior  and  most  prominent  of  the  engineers, 
took  the  matter  in  charge,  and  appealed  to  Congress  for  a  redress  of 
grievances.  Mr.  Gilbert  L.  Thompson,  a  prominent  politician  and 
man  about  town  in  Washington  in  those  days,  took  up  Mr.  Haswell' s 
cause  and  gave  him  much  assistance,  although  his  motives  were  not 
entirely  philanthropic,  as  we  shall  presently  see.  The  result  of  this 
effort  was  an  act  of  Congress  regulating  the  appointment  aad  pay  of 


engineers  in  the  navy,  which  act  was  approved  Angast  81,  1842, 
and  read  in  full  as  follows: 

Section  1.  Be  it  moated,  etc..  That  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  shall  appoint 
the  requisite  number  of  chief  engineers  and  assistant  engineers,  not  to  exceed  one 
chief  engineer,  two  first  assistant,  two  second  assistant,  and  three  third  assistant 
engineers  for  each  steamship  of  war,  for  the  naval  service  of  the  United  States,  who 
shall  be  paid,  when  in  actual  service,  as  follows  : 

To  the  chief  engineer,  fifteen  hundred  dollars  per  annum  and  one  ration  per 
day  ;  to  the  first  assistant  engineer,  nine  hundred  dollars  per  annum  and  one  ration 
per  day  ;  to  the  second  assistant  engineer,  seven  hundred  dollars  per  annum  and  one 
ration  per  day ;  to  the  third  assistant  engineer,  five  hundred  dollars  per  annum  and 
one  ration  per  day.  The  chief  engineer  shall  be  entitled  to  mess  in  the  wardroom  of 
ships  of  war,  and  in  all  cases  of  prize-money  he  shall  share  as  a  lieutenant ;  the  first 
assistant  engineer  shall  share  as  a  lieutenant  of  marines ;  the  second  assistant  engin- 
eer shall  share  as  a  midshipman ;  the  third  assistant  engineer  shall  share  as  the 
forward  officers ;  but  neither  the  chief  nor  the  assistant  engineers  shall  hold  any 
other  rank  titan  as  engineers. 

Sac.  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  shall  be 
authorized  to  enlist  and  employ  the  requisite  number  of  firemen,  who  shall  receive, 
each,  thirty  dollars  per  month  and  one  ration  per  day  ;  and  the  requisite  number  of 
coal-heavers,  who  shall  receive,  each,  eighteen  dollars  per  month  and  one  ration  per 
day  ;  and  the  said  firemen  and  coal-heavers  shall  in  all  cases  of  prize-money  share  as 

Sec.  3.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  said  chief  engineer  and  the  assist- 
ant engineers  when  waiting  orders  shall  be  paid  as  follows :  to  the  chief  engineer, 
twelve  hundred  dollars  per  annum  ;  to  the  first  assistant  engineer,  seven  hundred 
dollars  per  annum ;  to  the  second  assistant  engineer,  five  hundred  dollars  per  annum; 
to  the  third  assistant  engineer,  three  hundred  and  fifty  dollars  per  annum. 

Sec.  4.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  shall 
appoint  a  skillful  and  scientific  engineer-in-chief,  who  shall  receive  for  his  services 
the  sum  of  three  thousand  dollars  per  annum,  and  shall  perform  such  duties  as  the 
Secretary  of  the  Navy  shall  require  of  hhn  touching  that  branch  of  the  service. 

Sec.  5.  And  be  U  further  enacted,  That  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  shall  be 
authorized  te  prescribe  a  uniform  for  the  said  chief  engineers  and  assistant  engineers, 
and  to  make  all  necessary  rules  and  regulations  for  the  proper  arrangement  and 
government  of  the  corps  of  engineers  and  assistant  engineers  not  inconsistent  with 
the  Constitution  and  laws  of  the  United  States.  The  said  engineers  and  assistant 
engineers  shall  be  in  all  respects  subject  to  the  laws,  rules,  and  regulations  of  the 
naval  service  in  like  manner  with  other  officers  of  the  service. 

Sec.  6.  And  be  «  further  enacted,  That  the  said  chief  engineers  shall  be 
appointed  by  commission,  and  the  assistant  engineers  shall  be  appointed  by  warrant 
from  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  in  such  form  as  he  may  prescribe. 

Sec.  7.  And  be  U  further  enacted.  That  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  be  and  he  is 
hereby  authorized  to  establish,  at  such  places  as  he  may  deem  necessary,  suitable 
depots  of  coal  or  other  fuel  for  the  supply  of  steam  ships  of  war. 

The  day   following  the  approval  of  this  act  Mr.   Gilbert  L. 

Thompson  w&s  appointed  engineer-in-chief  of  the  navy  ;  this  to  the 


great  amazement  and  disgust  of  Mr.  Haswell,  who  had  seen  in  him 
only  a  benevolent  and  influential  gentleman  disposed  to  devote  his 
time  to  the  support  of  the  cause  simply  because  it  was  right. 
Benevolent  gentlemen  with  unlimited  time  and  influence  to  expend 
in  the  righting  of  wrongs  abound  in  the  harmless  works  of  fiction 
distributed  by  the  Iract  societies,  but  in  real  life  they  are  extremely 
rare.  Of  Mr.  Gilbert  L.  Thompson  one  of  his  contemporaries  has 
written  the  author  :  "  Mr.  Thompson  was  a  lawyer,  and  know  ab- 
solutely nothing  of  engineering.  He  was  a  gentleman,  a  scholar,  a 
diplomatist,  and  a  son  of  a  previous  Secretary  of  the  Navy ;  but 
his  engineering  was  purely  nominal,  and  confined  to  a  very  prompt 
and  efficient  drawing  of  his  salary." 

In  fhe  spring  of  1843  }he  Missoyrj,  affpr  a  prolonged  cruise  in 
the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  was  ordered  to  Washington,  where  Mr.  Thomp- 
son caused  her  smoke-pipe,  seven  feet  in  diameter,  to  be  removed 
and  replaced  with  two  pipes,  each  three  feet  six  inches  in  diameter. 
The  two  pipes  diverged  oat  towards  the  sides  and  connected  with 
the  wheel-houses  with  the  idea  that  the  centrifugal  action  pf  the 
wheels  would  induce  a  strong  draught  by  forcing  air  up  through  the 
pipes.  In  this  connection  it  must  be  known  that  the  boiler  room  of 
the  Missouri  was  abaft  the  engines  and  the  wheels  consequently 
were  forward  of  the  smoke-pipes,  which  arrangement  would  have 
seriously  interfered  with  the  operation  of  the  forced  draught  scheme 
in  a  head  wind,  even  if  there  had  been  any  merit  in  it  under  other 
conditions.  Mr.  Haswell,  the  chief  engineer  of  the  Missouri,  pro- 
tested against  the  design  and  declared  it  impracticable,  but  his  pro- 
fessional opinion  was  unheeded.  Engineer-in-Ohief  Thompson  was 
so  confident  of  success  that  he  had  the  members  pf  the  Cabinet  in- 
vited on  board  to  witness  the  trial  of  his  discovery,  but  they  attended 
a  funereal  feast,  for  the  scheme  failed  most  dismally  in  operation.  A 
scapegoat  being  necessary,  Mr.  Haswell  was  selected  and  suspended 
from  doty  because  be  had  "not  used  sufficiently  inflammable  ma- 
terial in  lighting  the  fires,"  although  it  is  not  apparent  at  this  late 
date  just  what  the  manner  of  lighting  fires  would  have  to  do  with 
any  subsequent  performance  with  steam  raised.  Mr.  Haswell  was 
later  offered  to  be  restored  to  duty  and  proceed  with  the  ship  to  the 
Mediterranean,  where  she  had  been  ordered,  on  condition  that  be 


would  apologize  to  the  captain  for  hie  error  ffi,  bat  this  he  declined 
to  do,  notwithstanding  the  requests  of  his  messmates,  saying  that  he 
would  "rather  suffer  injustice  from  another  than  be  unjnst  to  him- 
self." Whereupon  he  was  detached  from  the  vessel  and  Chief 
Engineer  Faron  ordered  to  take  his  place. 

The  experiment,  above  related,  definitely  established  the  fact 
that  Mr.  Thompson  was  not  an  engineer,  whatever  ability  he  might 
have  in  other  directions,  and  his  opinions  were  no  longer  sought  in 
the  councils  of  the  Navy  Department.  After  leaving  the  Missouri, 
Mr.  Haswell  was  employed  in  designing  machinery  for  four  Revenue 
cutters,  and  in  December  was  completely  vindicated  for  his  affair  on 
the  Missowri  by  being  ordered  to  the  Navy  Department  and  assigned 
to  the  duties  of  engineer-in-chief ;  October  3  of  the  following  year 
(1844)  Mr.  Thompson's  name  was  dropped  from  the  list  and  Mr. 
Haswell  was  regularly  appointed  engineer-in-chief  of  the  navy. 

The  smoke-pipe  of  the  Missouri  was  restored  to  its  original 
form  and  the  vessel  proceeded  to  the  Mediterranean,  arriving  at 
Gibraltar  on  the  25th  of  August  after  a  voyage  of  nineteen  days 
from  the  Capes  of  the  Ghesapeake.  The  next  day,  August  26, 
1843,  the  engineer's  yeoman  broke  a  demijohn  of  spirits  of  tur- 
pentine in  the  store-room,  which  ignited  and  started  a  fire  that 
spread  so  rapidly  that  all  hope  of  saving  the  vessel  had  to  be  aban- 
doned, and  the  crew  barely  escaped  with  their  lives.  In  a  few 
hours  this  splendid  vessel  was  reduced  to  a  blackened  and  sinking 
hulk.  Her  commander,  Captain  J.  T.  Newton,  and  Chief  Engineer 
John  Faron,  Jr. ,  were  tried  by  court-martial  upon  their  return  home 
and  were  sentenced  to  suspension  from  duty,  the  former  for  a  period 
of  two  years,  and  the  latter  for  one  year,  which  sentences  were  re- 
mitted after  the  captain  had  served  four  months  and  the  chief 
engineer  eight  months.  Congress  appropriated  sixty  thousand  dol- 
lars later  to  be  expended  in  removing  the  sunken  wreck  from  Gib- 
raltar harbor.  When  chief  engineer  of  the  Missouri  the  year 
before  she  burned,  Mr.  Haswell  had  asked  for  a  leaden  tank  in 
which  to  keep  the  spirits  of  turpentine,  but  the  requisition  was 

The  Mississippi  had  a  long  and  famous  career,  but  eventually 
met  a  far  more  tragic  fate  than  did  her  sister  ship.  She  is  said  to 
have  been  a  beautiful  vessel,  and  from  having  had  a  succession  of 



able  commanders  and  common-sense  officers  in  full  accord  with  each 
other,  she  won  the  enviable  reputation  of  being  a  "happy  ship," 
and  with  this  reputation  was  the  most  popular  and  best  known  of  all 
the  steamers  of  the  old  navy.  She  was  the  flagship  of  Commodore 
M.  C.  Perry  in  the  Mexican  War,  and  also  his  flagship  in  the  expe- 
dition to  Japan  •  she  carried  the  famous  Hungarian  exile,  Kossuth, 
from  Turkey  to  France,  and  brought  a  number  of  his  fellow-exiles 
to  the  United  States.  As  the  flagship  of  Flag  Officer  Josiah  Tatnall 
in  1859  she  was  present  at  the  engagement  in  the  Pei  lio  river, 


where  the  "  blood  is  thicker  than  water,"  sentiment  is  said  to  have 
originated,  and  at  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War  was  one  of  the  first 
vessels  to  go  to  the  front.  She  had  twice  circumnavigated  the  globe, 
and  it  was  said  of  her,  probably  truly,  that  she  had  cruised  more 
miles  under  steam  than  any  war  vessel  of  her  time.  Eventually  a 
combination  of  circumstances,  so  strange  that  their  suggestion  during 
her  palmy  days  would  have  been  scouted  as  the  climax  of  absurdity, 
brought  this  noble  frigate  with  hostile  intent  into  the  great  river 


■whose  name  she  had  so  long  and  so  worthily  carried  about  the 
world,  and  there  one  dark  night  in  a  storm  of  shot  and  shell,  in  lire 
and  smoke,  she  sank  to  her  long  rest,  a  coffin  for  many  of  her  crew, 
on  the  bosom  of  her  false  sod-mother. 

"While  the  Mississippi  and  Missouri  were  being  built,  the  Gov- 
ernment was  bringing  to  an  end  a  long  and  bloody  war  with  the 
Seminole  Indians  of  Florida.  It  had  been  decided  to  remove  this 
tribe  from  its  lands  and  deport  it  to  the  wilds  beyond  the  western 
frontiers,  but  when  efforts  were  made  to  carry  the  decision  into  effect 
the  savages  declined  to  be  moved,  they  viewing  the  matter  in  the 
same  light  that  we  may  imagine  the  present  inhabitants  of  Florida 
would  regard  a  similar  project  to  eject  them  from  their  homes  and 
belongings.  Under  their  great  chief,  Osceola,  the  Seminoles  took 
up  arms  and  a  long  and  devastating  war  followed,  costing  the  United 
States  ten  million  dollars  and  nearly  fifteen  hundred  lives.  The  re- 
sult was  the  same  as  of  all  other  weary  struggles  on  this  continent  of 
the  original  possessors  of  the  soil  against  the  encroachments  of  the 
dominant  race,  and  the  aborigines  went  to  the  wall.  The  nature  of 
the  country  in  which  the  struggle  took  place  made  the  employment 
of  small  steamers  for  the  transportation  of  men  and  war  material 
absolutely  necessary,  and  the  War  Department  accordingly  found 
itself  with  a  number  of  such  vessels  on  its  hands  when  the  Seminole 
War  was  over,  three  of  which  were  disposed  of  by  transfer  to  the 
Navy  Department. 

The  steamers  thus  added  to  the  navy  establishment  were  the 
General  Taylor,  of  152  tons;  the  Colonel  Harney,  of  300  tons,  and 
the  Poinsett,  of  250  tons.  They  were  employed  for  a  few  years  on 
the  Florida  waters  to  prevent  the  spoliation  of  Government  live  oak 
preserves,  one  or  two  naval  engineers  being  usually  attached  to 
each.  The  Poinsett  was  sold  in  1845  for  $5,000,  and  the  Harney 
was  returned  to  the  War  Department  in  1846.  The  General  Taylor, 
after  being  the  tender  at  the  Pensacola  navy  yard  for  several  years, 
was  sold  in  1852  for  $3,000. 

In  1841  and  1842  plans  were  prepared  for  the  paddle-wheel 
steamer  Michigan,  the  hull  being  designed  by  Naval  Constructor 
Samuel  Hartt,  and  the  engines  and  boilers  by  Mr.  C.  W.  Copelaud. 
There  were  two  inclined  direct  acting  condensing  engines,  placed 
side  by  side,  the  cylinders  being  36  inches  in  diameter  and  eight 

U.    S     S.    MICHIGAN. 


feet  Btroke;  these  engines  are  now,  more  than  fifty  years  after  the 
Michigan  was  first  commissioned,  still  in  the  vessel  and  in  excellent 
working  order.  The  two  original  return-fine  iron  boilers  lasted 
nearly  fifty  years,  they  having  been  replaced  as  recently  as  the 
winter  of  1892-93.  The  engines  and  boilers  were  built  by  Stack- 
house  &  Tomlinson  in  Pittsburgh,  Pa.  The  hull  was  built  of  iron, 
the  plates,  frames  and  other  iron  material  being  all  prepared  in 
Pittsburgh  ready  for  assembling  and  then  transported  overland  to 
Erie,  Pa. ,  where  the  vessel  was  put  together  and  launched  in  1843, 
making  her  first  cruise  on  the  Great  Lakes  in  1844.  She  was  the 
first  iron  vessel  afloat  on  those  waters,  and  is  still  in  active  service, 
a  striking  illustration  of  the  difference  between  fresh  and  salt  water 
as  agents  for  the  deterioration  of  iron  vessels.  It  should  be  men- 
tioned, however,  that  the  extraordinary  longevity  of  the  Michigan 
is  partly  due  to  the  fact  that  she  has  to  lie  up  in  a  winter  harbor  for 
about  six  months  each  year,  and  thus  the  chances  for  her  untimely 
destruction  by  the  usual  perils  of  the  sea  have  been  reduced  one- 
half.  The  first  commander  of  the  Michigan  was  William  Inman, 
and  her  first  chief  engineer  Andrew  Hebard. 


•*  A  little  learning  is  a  dangerous  thing." 

Alexander  Pops. 

Experiments  with  the  *'  Hunter  Wheel"— The  Uhiojt— The  Watkb  Witch— The 
Aulbbitakt — The  Stevens  Battery. 

TH~R  work  of  the  engineers  in  designing  and  building  machinery 
for  the  new  naval  steamers,  while  it  exeited  suspicion  and  op- 
position from  some  who  were  well  satisfied  with  the  navy  as  it  was, 
attracted  a  certain  amount  of  admiration  from  others  and  it  was  not 
long  before  amateur  imitators  of  their  work  sprung  up  in  the  ser- 
vice. Early  in  1842,  Lieutenant  W.  W.  Hunter  of  the  navy  se- 
cured a  patent  for  a  submerged  wheel,  claiming  a  great  improve- 
ment over  the  ordinary  side  wheels  in  propelling  vessels.  Experi- 
ments were  made  on  the  old  canal  in  Washington  with  a  small  boat 
named  the  Germ,  fitted  with  Hunter's  wheels,  and  the  results  ob- 
tamed  presented  to  the  Navy  Department  in  such  a  favorable  light 
that  it  was  determined  to  build  a  war-steamer  to  test  the  invention 
on  a  large  scale. 

He  Hunter  wheel  consisted  essentially  of  a  dram  with  the  pad- 
dles projecting  from  its  surface  like  the  teeth  of  a  large  gear  wheel 
or  pinion;  the  axis  of  the  wheel  was  placed  vertically  and  the  wheel 
so  located  in  the  vessel,  below  the  water  line,  that  as  it  revolved  the 
paddles,  when  at  right  angles  to  the  keel,  would  project  their  whole 
width  from  the  side  of  the  ship  through  a  suitable  aperture.  To 
keep  the  water  from  flowing  into  the  ship  through  this  opening  the 
drum  was  eased  inside  the  ship  with  a  box  or  coffer-dam  made  to  fit 
as  closely  as  safety  permitted,  in  practice  a  clearance  of  about  two 
inches  on  all  sides  being  allowed.  A  wheel  was  fitted  on  each  side 
of  the  ship.  In  operation  it  will  be  observed  that  this  wheel  would 
act  on  the  water  on  precisely  the  same  principle  as  that  governing 
the  ordinary  side  wheel,  but  unlike  the  latter  its  idle  side,  instead  of 
revolving  through  the  air.  had  to  do  work  all  the  time  by  sweeping 
around  the  water  inside  the  casing.  It  had  an  advantage  in  dispens- 
ing with  the  large  wheel-houses  which  were  exposed  to  shot  and  of- 
fered much  resistance  to  the  wind,  beside  blocking  space  belonging 



to  broadside  gum,  bat  this  was  practically  offset  by  the  disadvantage 
of  having  so  much  space  in  the  hold  occupied  by  the  drum  cases, 
while  the  enormous  loss  of  work  involved  in  constantly  churning  the 
water  inside  the  cases,  appeared  at  once  to  every  engineer  and  me- 
chanic to  be  a  fatal  defect  in  the  device. 

Sketch  showing  section  of  vessel  and  arrangement  of  Hunter's  wheels. 
This  is  a  reproduction  of  a  drawing  submitted  by  Lieut.  Hunter  to  the  Navy  De- 
partment under  date  of  Nov.  29,  1843,  and  is  particularly  interesting  from  the  fact 
that  It  shows  the  principle  of  the  protective  or  shield  deck,  believed  by  many  to 
be  a  recent  invention.  None  of  Hunter's  vessels  had  such  a  deck  as  built.  This 
drawing  was  first  published  in  the  annual  report  of  the  secretary  of  the  navy, 
about  1844. 

However,  the  Navy  Department  ordered  the  building  of  a  ves- 
sel on  Mr.  Hunter's  plans  and  the  work  was  carried  out  at  the  Nor- 
folk navy  yard  in  1842.  The  vessel,  named  the  Union,  was  185 
feet  long,  33  feet  beam,  and  displaced  900  tons  on  a  draft  of  eleven 
feet  The  rig  was  that  of  a  three-masted  topsail  schooner,  and  the 
battery  consisted  of  four  68-pounder  guns.  The  engines  were  built 
at  the  Washington  navy  yard  according  to  Mr.  Hunter's  ideas  and 
consisted  of  a  horizontal  non-condensing  engine  for  each  wheel,  the 
cylinders  being  twenty-eight  inches  in  diameter  and  four  feet  stroke. 
There  were  three  iron  tubular  boilers,  eighteen  feet  long  and  six  feet 
six  inches  in  diameter,  they  being  of  the  usual  commercial  pattern  for 


land  service.     The  propelling  wheels  were  fourteen  feet  in  diameter, 
each  fitted  with  twenty  paddles  four  feet  long  and  ten  inches  wide. 

The  Union  was  completed  at  the  end  of  1842  and  Mr.  William 
P.  Williamson,  who  had  assisted  Mr.  Hunter  in  his  experiments 
with  the  Gwm,  was  appointed  a  chief  engineer  in  the  nary  and 
ordered  to  the  new  vessel.  In  1843  she  was  engaged  in  experi- 
mental cruising  about  the  coast,  under  command  of  Lieutenant  Hun- 
ter, but  was  unable  to  develop  a  better  average  than  five  knots  per 
hour,  while  the  slip  or  lost  work  of  the  wheels  in  pumping  water 
through  the  drum  cases,  was  from  fifty  to  seventy  per  cent.  The 
boilers,  carrying  nearly  one  hundred  pounds  of  steam  for  the  high- 
pressure  engines,  rapidly  accumulated  scale  causing  an  equally  rapid 
deterioration,  they  being  intended  only  for  land  service,  were  un- 
provided with  means  or  accessibility  for  scaling,  and  in  about  a  year 
new  boilers  fit  for  use  at  sea  were  supplied  from  designs  of  Chief 
Engineer  Haswell,  but  the  wheels  continued  to  waste  their  energy 
by  acting  as  centrifugal  pumps  instead  of  propelling  the  vessel.  An 
average  of  five  knots  on  a  daily  expenditure  of  eighteen  tons  of  coal 
was  the  best  that  could  be  done  with  the  ship.  With  a  favorable 
wind  she  made  on  some  occasions  nine  and  ten  knots  for  short  peri- 
ods, and  Lieutenant  Hunter  reported  one  performance  of  about 
twelve  knots  sustained  for  five  hours  with  a  moderate  breeze.  In 
1846  it  was  concluded  the  engines  were  not  powerful  enough,  so 
they  were  removed  and  replaced  with  a  pair  of  condensing  engines, 
four  feet  stroke  and  forty  inches  diameter  of  cylinders;  at  the  same 
time  the  boilers  were  thoroughly  repaired  and  the  wheels  so  altered 
that  they  had  ten  paddles  each  instead  of  twenty,  the  new  paddles  be- 
ing four  feet  long  and  two  feet  wide;  all  this  failed  to  increase  the 
efficiency  of  the  wheels  and  the  Union  was  finally,  in  1848,  put  to 
nse  as  a  receiving  ship  at  the  Philadelphia  navy  yard.  The  ma- 
chinery was  removed  at  this  time  and  sold  for  $3,840.  The  total 
cost  of  this  experiment  was: 

Hull,  to  period  of  first  sailing $107,065.67 

Engines  and  dependencies,  do 51,062.93 

Repairs  at  various  times 68,549.13 

Total..., $226,677.78 



While  the  troubles  of  the  "Hunter  wheel  "  in  the  Union  werft 
progressing,  similar  experience  was  being  gained  with  a  small  iron 
steamer  named  the  Water  Witch.  This  vessel  was  built  at  the 
Washington  navy  yard  in  1843  from  Lieutenant  Hunter's  plans  and 
was  intended  for  a  steam  water  tank  to  supply  the  vessels  at  the 
Norfolk  station,  but  when  completed  it  was  discovered  that  she  could 
not  go  through  the  locks  of  the  Dismal  Swamp  canal,  which  had  to 
be  done  in  order  to  get  at  the  water  supply,  so  she  was  fitted  for  a 
harbor  vessel  and  tug.  Her  length  was  100  feet  and  beam  21  feet; 
the  machinery  consisted  of  two  non-condensing  engines  with  cylin- 
ders 22  inches  in  diameter  and  four  feet  stroke,  driving  two  Hunter 
wheels  16  feet  in  diameter.  The  maximum  speed  of  this  contri- 
vance was  six  and  one-half  knots  per  hour,  which  was  so  unsatisfac- 
tory considering  her  small  size  and  great  power,  that  the  vessel  was 
condemned  and  taken  to  Philadelphia  to  be  rebuilt.  The  experi- 
ment with  the  Hunter  wheel  in  this  vessel  stops  at  this  point,  but  it 
will  be  interesting  to  trace  the  subsequent  career  of  the  Water  Witch 
since  she  has  been  introduced. 


A  peculiarity  claimed  by  the  inventor  for  thir  instrument  was  that  it  was 
not  a  screw  because  "the  propeller  blades  form  an  angle  with  the  center  line  in 
the  same," 


At  Philadelphia  the  vessel  was  lengthened  thirty  feet  and  the 
entire  machinery  removed,  new  machinery  driving  a  "  Loper  "  pro- 
peller as  an  experiment  being  substituted.  This  also  was  pronoun- 
ced unsatisfactory,  although  when  tried  by  a  committee  of  the  Frank- 
lin Institute  in  the  Delaware  river  a  speed  of  nearly  nine  knots  was 
obtained,  and  in  1847  an  inclined  condensing  engine  driving  side 
wheels,  designed  by  Engineer-in-Chief  Haswell,  was  substituted. 
With  this  alteration  the  Water  Witch  was  actively  employed  in  the 
Gulf  during  the  Mexican  War,  but  she  had  been  the  victim  of  so 
much  patch- work  on  an  originally  faulty  model  that  it  required  much 
labor  to  keep  her  in  working  order.  In  1851  she  sailed  from  Nor- 
folk for  a  coastwise  voyage  and  hopelessly  broke  down  on  the  first 
day  out,  after  which  exploit  the  machinery  was  removed  and  the  hull 
put  to  good  practical  use  as  a  target  for  gunnery  practice  at  Washing- 
ton. The  machinery  being  perfectly  good,  a  new  hull  of  wood, 
somewhat  larger  than  the  old  was  built  at  the  Washington  yard  in 
1852  and  a  reasonably  efficient  little  gunboat  thus  produced,  still 
bearing  the  original  name.  This  new  steamer  was  employed  for  a 
number  of  years  in  the  Rio  de  la  Plata  region  of  South  America, 
and  later  saw  some  very  active  service  during  the  first  three  years 
of  the  Civil  War.  June  3,  1864,  she  was  captured  in  Ossabaw 
Sound  by  a  large  boarding  party  of  the  enemy  after  a  most  desper- 
ate struggle,  in  which  her  paymaster,  Mr.  Luther  G.  Billings,  killed 
Lieutenant  Pelot  the  Confederate  commander  in  a  hand-to-hand  fight, 
and  also  saved  the  life  of  his  own  commanding  officer  by  killing  the 
man  who  had  cut  him  down  and  was  about  to  despatch  him.  The 
Union  prisoners  were  taken  to  Savannah  where  they  came  under  the 
control  of  the  Confederate  officer  commanding  that  naval  station,  and 
who,  singularly  enough,  was  the  same  Hunter  whose  wheels  had  pro- 
pelled the  original  Water  Witch,  he  having  resigned  as  a  commander  in 
1861  and  cast  his  fortunes  with  the  Confederacy.  The  coincidence 
does  not  seem  to  have  appealed  to  his  magnaminity  to  any  great  ex- 
tent, for  it  is  a  matter  of  official  record  that  he  treated  his  prisoners 
with  considerable  harshness. 

To  return  to  the  experience  of  the  Navy  Department  with  the 
Hunter  wheel.  The  experiments  with  the  Union  and  Water  Witch 
not  being  conclusive  to  Mr.  Hunter  and  his  supporters,  the  Depart- 
ment was  prevailed  upon  to  try  the  invention  on  a  larger  scale  than 


before.  On  the  11th  of  July,  1843,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Mr. 
A.  P.  Upshur,  directed  Captain  Beverly  Kennon,  chief  of  the  Bu- 
reau of  Construction,  ' '  to  take  proper  steps  for  building  at  Pitts- 
burgh, Pennsylvania,  an  iron  steamer  on  plans  to  be  submitted  by 
Lieutenant  William  W.  Hunter,"  and  a  contract  was  accordingly 
made  with  Joseph  Tomlinson  for  an  iron  steamer  on  Hunter's  plan, 
together  with  engines,  propellers,  machinery,  and  all  metal  appurte- 
nances, and  Lieutenant  Hunter  was  ordered  by  the  Navy  Depart- 
ment to  superintend  the  construction  of  the  whole.  Work  on  this 
vessel,  named  the  Alleghany,  began  in  1844  and  was  completed  in 
April,  1847,  when  she  descended  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  rivers  to 
New  Orleans,  and  thence  steamed  around  to  Norfolk,  Ya. 

The  Alleghany  was  185  feet  long,  33  feet  beam,  13  feet  6  inches 
mean  draft,  at  which  her  displacement  was  1,020  tons.  She  was 
bark-rigged  and  mounted  originally  four  8-inch  Paixham  guns, 
weighing  10,000  pounds  each,  but  this  battery  was  reduced  one-half 
before  the  vessel  sailed  for  a  foreign  cruise.  There  were  two  hori- 
zontal condensing  engines  with  cylinders  of  four  feet  stroke  and  60 
inches  diameter,  and  two  iron  return-flue  boilers  containing  2,000 
square  feet  of  heating  surface  and  55  square  feet  of  grate  surface  each. 
The  boilers  were  designed  by  Mr.  Haswell,  but  the  engines  and  hull 
were  Mr.  Hunter's,  modified  by  such  suggestions  as  he  collected 
from  the  engineers  and  constructors.  The  horizontal  propelling 
wheels  were  14  feet  8  inches  outside  diameter,  fitted  with  eight  pad- 
dles each,  the  paddles  being  3  feet  6  inches  long  and  2  feet  2  inches 

On  the  trip  from  New  Orleans  to  Norfolk  the  mean  results  of 
her  best  steaming  performances  in  smooth  sea  and  calms  gave  a 
speed  of  4.9  knots  on  an  expenditure  of  2,000  pounds  of  coal  per 
hour.  At  Norfolk  it  was  concluded  to  cut  out  every  other  paddle, 
leaving  only  four  in  each  wheel,  and  thus  altered  the  Alleghany 
sailed  for  Brazil,  on  which  station  and  in  the  Mediterranean  she  was 
employed  until  1849,  when  she  returned  to  the  United  States  and 
went  on  duty  in  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  until  October  of  that  year. 
After  the  reduction  of  the  paddles  the  average  performance  for 
eighty-eight  hours'  steaming  at  sea  in  calm  weather  was  5.9  knots 
per  hour  on  an  hourly  consumption  of  2,096  pounds  of  coal.  The 
mean  results  of   eleven  hundred  and  ninety  hours  under  steam  and 


sail  in  the  Atlantic  and   Mediterranean  during  her  cruise  were  as 

Mean  pressure  in  boilers 11.77  pounds 

Throttle One-half  open 

Cut-off 28. 100  of  stroke 

Coal  consumption  per  hour 1, 940  pounds 

Average  revolution  of  wheels 27.2  per  minute 

Vacuum 25  inches 

Speed  of  vessel   per   log 5,883  knots 

Upon  the  return  of  the  Alleghany  from  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  in 
October,  1849,  a  survey  was  held  on  her  by  order  of  Commodore 
C.  W.  Skinner,  chief  of  the  Bureau  of  Construction,  etc. ,  the  board 
of  survey  being  composed  of  Commander  J.  B.  Montgomery,  Naval 
Constructor  John  Lenthal,  Engineer-in- Chief  C.  H.  Haswell,  Chief 
Engineer  Wm.  P.  Williamson,  and  Mr.  Wm.  Ellis,  the  supervising 
engineer  of  the  Washington  navy  yard.  Their  report  was  a  con- 
demnation of  the  Hunter  wheel,  and  a  recommendation  to  substitute 
a  common  side  wheel,  but  as  the  engines  could  be  adapted  to  a 
screw  propeller,  and  not  to  paddle  wheels,  a  propeller  was  decided 
upon,  as  the  cost  of  new  engines  would  thereby  be  saved.  This  re- 
port definitely  ended  the  career  of  Hunter's  wheel  and  put  a  stop  to 
needless  expenditure  of  public  money.  The  entire  history  of  these 
experiments  in  the  navy  only  confirms  the  correctness  of  an  old  adage 
a  ' '  shoemaker  should  stick  to  his  last. ' ' 

The  actual  cost  of  the  Alleghany  to  the  period  of  her  departure 
from  Pittsburg  was: 

Hull  and  fittings $118,635.27 

Engines,  boilers,  fittings  and  connections 113,640.65 

Patent  right  for  Hunter's  wheels 10,320.00 

Total $242,595.92 

In  1851-52  the  Alleghany  was  rebuilt  at  the  works  of  A.  Me- 
haffy  &  Co. ,  Portsmouth,  Ya. ,  under  the  supervision  of  Chief  En- 
gineer Wm.  P.  Williamson,  U.  S.  Navy.  The  iron  hull,  having 
been  constructed  by  an  establishment  accustomed  to  building  vessels 


for  river  service,  had  been  found  too  weak  for  rough  cruising  in  the 
open  sea,  a  number  of  frames  having  buckled  inward,  and  an  at- 
tempt to  remedy  this  was  made  by  putting  in  additional  frames  and 
braces.  The  openings  in  the  side  for  the  Hunter  wheels  were  built 
in,  and  a  new  stern  post,  suitable  for  the  passage  of  a  propeller  shaft, 
was  substituted  for  the  old  one.  The  cylinders  of  the  old  engines, 
which  worked  fore  and  aft,  were  used  in  the  new  engine  to  work 
athwartBhip  from  the  diagonally  opposite  corners  of  a  new  bed  plate, 
the  connecting  rods  reaching  backward  from  cross-tails,  and  many 
of  the  minor  parts  of  the  old  engines  were  likewise  adapted  in  the 
new  structure.  The  alterations  in  the  engines  were  regarded  by  en- 
gineers at  the  time  as  very  ingenious  and  were  devised  by  Mr.  B. 
F.  Isherwood,  a  young  chief  engineer  who  had  entered  the  service 
a  few  years  previously.  His  arrangement  of  the  cylinders  with  a 
back-acting  motion,  will  be  recognized  as  the  fore-runner  of  the  type 
so  universally  known  some  years  later  as  the  Isherwood  engine. 

Three  new  iron  boilers,  aggregating  5,500  square  feet  of  heating 
surface  and  200  square  feet  of  grate  surface  were  provided;  these  were 
of  an  English  patent  type  known  as  ' '  Lamb  and  Summer  ' '  boilers, 
hitherto  unknown  in  the  United  States,  although  used  successfully 
to  some  extent  in  England.  They  were  installed  in  the  Alleghany 
at  the  instance  of  Mr.  Charles  B.  Stuart,  the  engineer-in-chief  at  the 
time,  a  royalty  of  forty-five  cents  per  superficial  foot  of  heating  sur- 
face being  paid  to  the  patentees.  Pirsson's  patent  double- vacuum 
condenser,  to  which  was  attached  an  evaporator  for  making  up  the 
waste  of  fresh  water,  was  fitted  in  this  steamer  at  this  time,  which 
was  the  first  appearance  in  our  naval  service  of  that  once  popular 
type  of  condenser. 

The  cost  of  all  these  alterations  and  additions  was  about  $130,- 
000,  which,  when  added  to  the  original  cost  of  the  vessel  and  about 
$25,000  spent  for  repairs  when  she  was  in  service,  brings  the  total 
cost  up  to  nearly  $400,000.  , 

The  screw  propeller  was  made  of  cast  iron,  13^  feet  in  diame- 
ter, with  four  blades  3£  feet  wide,  having  an  expanding  pitch  from 
27  to  33  feet.  So  curious  was  this  propeller  in  comparison  with  the 
modern  pear-shaped  development  of  the  same  instrument,  that  a  re- 
duced copy  of  the  original  drawing  is  shown  on  next  page,  the  au- 
thor feeling  confident  it  will  interest  all  his  readers  who  ever  had 
any  connection  with  the  profession  of  marine  engineering, 




The  Alleghany  was  promised  for  the  Perry  expedition  to  Japan, 
which  fitted  out  in  the  summer  of  1852,  but  so  many  vexatious  de- 
lays in  her  rebuilding  occured  that  she  was  not  ready  for  a  steam 
trial  until  nearly  a  year  after  Commodore  Perry  sailed  for  Japan  in 
the  Mississippi.  On  trial  the  Alleghany  proved  to  be  an  absolute 
and  unqualified  failure;  the  hull  was  too  weak  to  withstand  the  action 
of  the  engines  and  this  resulted  in  the  engine  bed  plates  breaking  in 
several  places;  the  boilers  were  entirely  inadequate  for  supplying  the 


engines  with  steam,  and  things  were  at  sixes  and  sevens  generally. 
Misfortunes  with  other  ships  will  be  referred  to  in  due  time,  which 
occurred  during  the  same  year  and  with  the  fiasco  of  the  Alleghmy 
caused  public  attention  and  much  adverse  criticism  to  be  directed  at 
the  management  of  the  Navy  Department.  Mr.  Secretary  Dobbin, 
in  response  to  the  popular  clamor,  organized  a  board  of  engineers 
with  instructions  to  institute  a  searching  investigation,  not  only  as  to 
the  causes  of  the  disasters,  but  also  the  officers  or  individuals  who 
were  responsible.  This  board  consisted  of  Engineer-in-Ohief  D.  B. 
Martin  (Mr.  Stuart  had  resigned  in  June  of  that  year);  Chief  Engi- 
neer Henry  Hunt,  U.  S.  Navy,  and  Mr.  C.  W.  Copeland.  Mr.  John 
Lenthal,  the  chief  constructor  of  the  navy,  was  ordered  to  act  with 
the  board  and  advise  its  members  in  matters  relating  to  his  specialty. 


In  the  case  of  the  Alleghany,  the  report  of  this  board  was  not 
especially  flattering  to  any  who  had  been  concerned  in  her  building 
and  repair,  amounting  to  a  general  condemnation  of  the  vessel  as  be- 
ing totally  unsuited  for  naval  purposes.  The  hull,  originally  built 
for  the  reception  of  Hunter's  wheels,  was  of  a  very  peculiar  form, 
the  cross  section  being  shaped  like  an  inverted  bell;  a  shape  mani- 
festly inconsistent  with  structural  strength  to  withstand  outside  pres- 
sure, as  well  as  a  dangerous  model  for  sailing,  and  it  was  found  that 
the  additional  frames  put  in  were  so  placed  and  fastened  as  not  to 
add  to  the  strength,  while  considerably  increasing  the  weight.  The 
English  boilers,  originally  adopted  as  experimental,  had  been  radic- 
ally altered  after  another  set  of  the  same  boilers  had  failed  in  another 
ship — the  Princeton — and  this  fact  was  unfavorably  dwelt  upon  by 
the  board,  although  there  was  no  reason  for  believing  that  this  type 
would  have  been  successful  in  the  Alleghany  after  it  had  failed  in 
another  case.  Chief  Engineer  Isherwood  was  scored  for  not  provid- 
ing, in  the  design  and  strength  of  the  engine  frames,  for  the  weak- 
ness of  the  ship's  bottom,  and  on  his  side  he  of  course  contended 
that  it  was>  his  task  to  provide  an  engine  only ;  not  a  hull  to  support 
it.  With  more  experience,  at  a  later  period  of  his  professonal  ca- 
reer, when  it  became  his  duty  to  provide  power  for  a  great  number 
of  war  vessels  with  all  sorts  of  hulls,  his  engine  frames  were  made 
proof  against  any  amount  of  racking  they  might  receive,  and  then  a 
hue  and  cry  was  raised  again,  not  because  the  engines  were  too  light, 
but  because  they  were  too  heavy.  Philosophers  say  that  it  is  much 
easier  to  be  critical  than  correct,  and  the  belief  that  the  most  suc- 
cessful critics  are  those  who  have  failed  in  other  callings  has  long 
since  passed  into  a  proverb. 

The  great  fault  in  this  affair  appears,  from  a  careful  study  of 
the  documents  in  the  case,  to  have  been  the  original  attempt  to  make 
a  serviceable  war  vessel  out  of  a  structure  that  in  shape  and  scant- 
ling of  material  was  utterly  unfit  for  the  reception  of  adequate  power. 
After  her  lamentable  failure  the  Alleghany  was  laid  up  in  ordinary 
at  Washington  navy  yard  for  a  year  or  two  and  was  then  moved  to 
Baltimore,  where  she  remained  for  many  years  as  a  store  ship,  be- 
ing eventually  sold  in  1869  for  $5, '250. 

During  this  same  experimental  period  a  project  for  constructing 
an  iron-clad  steam  battery  was  submitted  to  the  government  by  Mr. 
Robert   L.  Stevens   of   Hoboken,  New  Jersey,  and  was  so  well  re- 


ceived  that  Congress,  by  an  act  approved  April  14,  1842,rauthor- 
ized  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  enter  into  contract  with  Mr.  Ste- 
vens "for  the  construction  of  a  war  steamer,  shot  and  shell  proof, 
to  be  built  principally  of  iron,  upon  the  plan  of  the  said  Stevens," 
the  act  appropriating  two  hundred  and  fifty  thousand  dollars  towards 
carrying  the  law  into  effect  and  providing  that  the  whole  cost  of  the 
steamer  should  not  exceed  the  average  cost  of  the  Mississippi  and 
Missouri.  Although  the  steamer  thus  originated  was  never  com- 
pleted, and  its  history  reached  forward  into  a  period  far  ahead  of 
that  with  which  we  have  yet  begun  to  deal,  it  was  such  an  object  of 
interest  to  the  early  engineers  that  it  is'  entitled  to  mention  in  this 
place,  especially  as  the  present  chapter  has  been  devoted  to  the  re- 
cital of  upset  theories  and  blasted  hopes. 

Mr.  Stevens  was  the  son  of  the  famous  American  inventor,  John 
Stevens,  who,  as  early  as  1804,  had  snccessfully  operated  a  Email 
experimental  steamer  with  twin  screw  propellers  in  place  of  paddle- 
wheels;  who,  in  1812,  had  prepared  a  complete  set  of  plans  for  a 
circular  iron-clad  steam  battery,  and  whose  name  was  for  many  years 
intimately  associated  with  the  beginning  of  steam  navigation  and 
railway  operations  in  this  country.  Robert  L.  Stevens  inherited  his 
father's  inventive  genius  and  his  incomplete  inventions,  among  them 
the  idea  of  the  armored  steam  battery.  The  original  plan  for  this 
vesssel  was  for  a  large  iron  steamer  (about  two  hundred  and  fifty 
feet  long)  to  be  protected  with  plates  of  four  and  one-half  inch  iron 
armor  plate,  Mr.  Stevens  having  proved  to  the  satisfaction  of  the 
Coast  Defense  Board,  composed  of  army  and  navy  officers,  that  iron 
plates  of  this  thickness  could  withstand  the  fire  of  any  possible  gun. 
Unfortunately  for  Stevens,  another  great  genius,  who  will  appear 
prominently  in  the  next  chapter,  arrived  on  the  scene  about  this  time 
with  a  large  wrought-iron  gun  of  English  manufacture,  with  which  he 
proceeded  to  demonstrate  by  actual  experiments  that  plates  of  iron 
four  and  one-half  inches  thick  could  be  easily  penetrated.  This  was 
a  great  discouragement  to  Mr.  Stevens  and  occasioned  so  much  offi- 
cial interference  with  his  work  that  the  project  languished  until  1854, 
when  work  on  a  modified  battery  was  begun  in  earnest  and  carried 
almost  to  completion  before  it  was  brought  to  a  stand  still  by  the 
death  of  Mr.  Stevens  in  1856.  The  vessel  thus  constructed  was 
much  larger  than  the  original  design,  being  420  feet  long,  53  feet 
beam,  and  of  about  6,000  tons  displacement.     The  iron  armor  pro- 


jected  for  this  formidable  craft  was  to  be  six  and  three  quarter  inches 
in  thickness. 

The  machinery,  which  was  completed  in  1856,  was  designed  for 
8,600  horse-power,  then  an  enormous  engine  power  and  equal  to  that 
of  the  f amouB  Cheat  Eastern.  The  vessel  had  twin  screws,  the  shafts 
being  eight  feet  apart  at  the  engines  and  diverging  towards  the  stern, 
at  which  point  they  were  twenty-two  feet  apart;  they  also  were 
designed  to  point  down  a  little  to  get  a  better  hold  of  the  water,  the 
screw  ends  being  about  a  foot  lower  than  the  engine  ends.  The  to- 
tal length  of  each  shaft  was  184  feet,  with  a  maximum  diameter  of 
seventeen  inches.  Each  shaft  was  operated  by  a  row  of  four  verti- 
cal cylinders  placed  outboard  of  the  shaft  and  connected  to  the  cranks 
by  means  of  overhead  walking  beams  six  feet  long  and  the  usual  in- 
terposition of  connecting  rods,  an  arrangement  that  engineers  fami- 
liar with  our  modern  navy  will  recognize  as  remarkably  like  the  beam 
engines  adopted  by  the  Advisory  Board  for  the  Chicago.  The  cyl- 
inders of  these  two  sets  of  engines  were  all  of  the  same  dimensions, 
viz:  forty-five  inches  in  diameter  and  forty-two  inches  stroke.  The 
four  cranks  of  each  shaft  were  placed  ninety  degrees  apart,  and  the 
crank  shafts,  forged  separately,  were  coupled  together  in  a  manner 
closely  similar  to  modern  practice.  The  engine  frames  were  built 
up  of  iron  plates.  The  fore-and-aft  fire-room,  seventy-six  feet  long, 
had  five  boilers  on  each  side,  aggregating  26, 000  square  feet  of  heating 
surface.  Unlike  the  typical  boilers  of  that  time,  these  boilers  were 
fitted  with  tubes  two  and  a  quarter  inches  in  diameter  instead  of  the 
large  flues  so  generally  used. 

Up  to  this  time  the  government  had  appropriated  five  hundred 
thousand  dollars  for  this  undertaking  and  the  inventor  had  expended 
two  hundred  thousand  dollars  of  his  own  money  on  it  be*sides.  At 
Eobert  Stevens'  death,  the  unfinished  structure  became  the  property 
of  his  two  brothers,  Edwin  A.  and  John  C.  Stevens,  who,  being  very 
wealthy  from  having  successfully  followed  out  the  railway  and  shipping 
enterprises  of  their  father,  offered  in  1 8  6 1  to  complete  the  vessel  at  their 
own  expense  if  the  government  would  pay  for  it  if  it  proved  to  be 
successful.  This  liberal  offer  was  rejected  by  the  Navy  Department 
through  the  medium  of  a  board  of  naval  officers  who  reported  ad- 
versely to  the  project,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  country  was  sorely 
in  need  of  armored  vessels  and  at  that  very  time  another  naval 
board  was  in  daily  session  listening  to  the  claims  of  every  inventor 


who  came  along  with  a  scheme  of  any  kind  for  an  iron  clad.  In  an 
effort  to  prove  the  practicability  of  their  plan  the  Stevens  brothers 
fitted  out  at  their  own  expense  a  small  steamer  named  the  Nauga- 
tuck,  with  their  arrangement  of  protective  armor,  and  loaned  her  to 
the  Navy  Department;  this  craft  was  in  action  at  Drury's  Bluff  on 
the  James  river  in  1862  and  had  to  fall  out  of  battle  owing  to  the 
bursting  of  her  Parrott  gun,  so  her  armor  did  not  receive  the  desired 
test,  and  she  never  figured  as  a  national  vessel  on  the  official  navy  list. 

In  1868  Mr.  Edwin  A.  Stevens  died,  and  by  the  terms  of  his  will 
gave  the  unfinished  battery  to  the  State  of  New  Jersey,  bequeathing 
$1,000,000  to  be  used  in  completing  it.  General  George  B.  MeClel- 
lan  of  Army  of  the  Potomac  fame,  was  appointed  as  the  engineer  to 
determine  on  the  plans  for  completing  the  vessel,  and  Mr.  Isaac  New- 
ton, who  as  an  engineer  in  the  navy  during  the  war  had  won  a  high 
professional  reputation,  was  appointed  General  McClellan's  techni- 
cal assistant.  These  officials  determined  to  convert  the  structure 
into  a  ram,  with  a  revolving  turret  similar  to  that  of  Ericsson's  moni- 
tor type.  "  The  bow  was  strengthened  accordingly,  an  inner  skin,  on 
the  double  bottom  principal,  and  transverse  water-tight  bulkheads 
were  introduced,  and  the  old  machinery  was  entirely  replaced  with 
ten  large  boilers  and  two  sets  of  powerful  engines  of  the  ' '  Maudsley 
&  Field"  vertical  overhead-crosshead  type,  designed  to  propel  the 
vessel  at  a  speed  of  fifteen  knots  per  hour. 

In  1874  the  million  dollars  left  by  Mr.  Stevens  was  exhausted  and 
the  vessel  not  yet  completed,  although  far  enough  along  to  justify 
the  claim  that  she  would  be  the  most  formidable  war  vessel  in  the 
world  if  completed.  New  Jersey  was  not  disposed  to  spend  the 
necessary  money  for  her  completion  and  opened  negotiations  for  her 
sale  to  the'  United  States,  a  bargain  to  that  end  being  practically 
completed  so  far  as  the  Navy  Department  was  concerned,  but  Con- 
gress refused  to  appropriate  the  money  to  make  the  necessary  pay- 
ments, and  the  structure  fell  back  upon  the  hands  of  the  State  of 
Bew  Jersey.  Proposals  for  her  sale,  either  as  a  whole  or  in  parts, 
were  then  advertised,  and  in  1874  and  1875  the  most  of  the  material 
and  machinery  was  disposed  of  in  that  way,  even  the  new  engines 
being  sold  for  old  iron. 

Although  borne  on  the  official  navy  list  as  a  national  vessel  for 
several  years,  this  troublous  craft  never  had  any  other  name  than 
the  designation  of  the  "Stevens  Battery." 


'  'Ericsson's  careei  proved  that  the  pencil,  as  well  as  the  pen,  is  mightier  than 
the  sword.  Napoleon  did  not  effect  greater  changes  in  the  face  of  Europe  than  has 
Ericsson  produced  in  naval  warfare,  and  these  latter  are  lasting,  while  the  former 
have  long  since  passed  into  other  forms." 

J.  Vaushan  Merrick  in  Church's  Life  of  John  Ericsson. 

Introduction  of  the  Screw  Propeller— John  Ericsson.— The  Princeton,  and  Her 
Remarkable  Engine. — Great-gun  Accident  on  the  Princeton  and  Consequent 
Breach  of  Friendship  Between  Ericsson  and  Captain  Stockton. — Subsequent 
Career  of  the  Princeton. 

THIS  narrative  of  the  early  steam  vessels  and  engineers  of  our 
navy  has  now  progressed  to  the  point  where  there  appears  on 
the  scene  the  most  remarkable  marine  engineer  whose  genius  has  ever 
impressed  itself  upon  the  engineering  practice  of  the  world,  his 
advent  into  our  naval  history  being  due  to  the  adoption  of  a  war- 
steamer,  the  product  of  his  brain,  which  in  many  particulars  rad- 
ically and  successfully  departed  from  the  accepted  dogmas  of 
engineers  of  the  time  regarding  the  application  of  steam  power  to 
marine  propulsion.  Experiments  with  screw  propellers  of  various 
types  had  been  made  in  the  United  States,  England,  and,  elsewhere/ 
and  the  practicability  of  the  instrument  had  been  visibly  demons- 
trated by  more  than  one  inventor,  notwithstanding  which  many 
engineers  persisted  in  maintaining  that  its  theoretical  loss  by  oblique 
action,  and  other  alleged  defects,  were  fatal  to  its  adoption  in 
practice.  Foremost  among  the  experimenters  in  England  was  the 
Swedish  engineer,  John  Ericsson,  who,  failing  to  gain  recognition 
from  the  Admiralty  although  he  had  constructed  entirely  successful 
screw-propelled  vessels,  left  that  country  in  disgust  and  came  to  the 
United  States,  if  not  at  the  instance,  certainly  to  the  gratification  of 
Captain  Richard  F.  Stockton  of  the  U.  S.  Navy. 

Captain  Stockton  had  been  in  England  at  the  time  the  experi- 
ments with  Ericsson's  propeller  were  attracting  public  attention  and 
he  became  thoroughly  converted  to  the  importance  and  value  of  the 
invention.  Becoming  well  acquainted  with  the  great  engineer,  he 
had  talked  to  him  at  length  of  his  wish  to  have  the  United  States 


Government  build  a  steamer  on  Ericsson's  plan  of  propulsion,  and 
had  made  many  nattering  promises  of  success  to  the  latter  should 
he  ever  take  up  the  practice  of  his  profession  in  America.  The  Act 
of  Congress  of  1839,  under  which  the  Mississippi  and  Missowi  were 
built,  had  authorized  the  construction  of  three  vessels,  and  at  the 
urgent  and  repeated  solicitations  of  Captain  Stockton  the  Depart- 
ment, late  in  1841,  directed  the  construction  of  the  third  vessel  from 
plans  suggested  by  him.  As  soon  as  authority  to  build  the  ship  was 
granted,  Stockton  summoned  Ericsson  to  his  aid  and  engaged  him 
to  make  all  the  necessary  designs  for  the  hull  and  machinery,  as 
well  as  to  act  as  general  superintendent  of  the  construction  of  the 

This  vessel,  named  the  Princeton  after  Captain  Stockton's 
home  town  in  New  Jersey,  was  built  in  Philadelphia  during  the 
years  1842  and  1843,  the  hull  at  the  navy  yard  and  the  machinery 
by  the  engineering  firm  of  Merrick  and  Towne.  She  was  164  feet 
long,  30£  feet  beam,  and  displaced  954  tons  at  her  mean  draft  of 


16£  feet.     The  peculiarity  of  model  consisted  in  a  very  flat  floor 
amidships,  with  great  sharpness  forward  and  excessive  leanness  aft, 


the  run  being  remarkably  fine.  She  was  ship-rigged,  spreading 
fourteen  thousand  four  hundred  and  thirteen  square  feet  of  canvas 
in  plain  sails.  The  screw  propeller  originally  used  was  of  the  form 
known  as  "  the  Ericsson  " :  it  was  composed  of  a  cast  brass  hub 
with  six  arms,  the  latter  being  surrounded  by  a  copper  band  or 
drum,  on  which  six  brass  blades  were  riveted,  the  general  appear- 
ance of  the  instrument  being  shown  as  in  the  annexed  sketch.  Both 
arms  and  blades  were  of  true  helicoidal  twist.  In  Mr.  Kobert  Mac- 
farlane's  History  of  Steam  Navigation,  published  in  1851,  this  form 
of  propeller  is  thus  spoken  of: — "The  advantage  of  the  Ericsson 
screw  is  in  having  a  ring  within  the  arms,  whereby  any  number  of 
blades  can  be  fixed,  and  a  large  area  of  surface  obtained."  The 
Princeton's  propeller  was  of  the  following  dimensions  : 

Diameter,  extreme 14  feet. 

Diameter  of  drum 8 

Diameter  of  hub 1     "  8  in. 

Pitch  of  screw 35 

Length  of  hub  and  arms  in  direction  of  axis.  2 

Width  of  blades 4     "  1  in. 

Weight  of  screw 12,000    pounds. 

In  1845,  about  a  year  after  the  completion  of  the  vessel,  the 
original  propeller  was  removed  and  a  six-bladed  screw  without  any 
supporting  drum  was  substituted,  the  new  screw  being  14£  feet  in 
diameter,  32^^  feet  pitch,  with  blades  about  4£  feet  wide.  Experi- 
ments made  on  the  Princeton  under  similar  conditions  showed  that 
the  common  screw  was  about  11  per  cent,  more  efficient  than 
Ericsson's.  The  Princeton  had  three  iron  boilers,  designed  by 
Ericsson  to  burn  hard  coal,  aggregating  2,420  square  feet  of  heat- 
ing surface  and  124  square  feet  of  grate  surface. 

The  Princeton  was  the  first  screw  steam,  ww-vessel  ever  built, 
although  followed  closely  by  H.  M.  S.  Battler,  launched  soon  after 
she  was.  The  Battler  was  begun  some  time  before  the  Princeton 
and  was  intended  originally  for  side- wheels,  but  was  changed  while 
building  owing  to  a  change  in  sentiment  regarding  screw  propellers. 
To  this  circumstance  may  be  attributed  the  fact  that  the  Battler  is 
frequently  claimed  to  have  been  the  first  screw  war-steamer.  The 
Princeton  was  also  the  first  vessel  of  war  in  which  all  the  machinery 


was  placed  entirely  below  the  water  line  out  of  reach  of  shot.  She 
was  also  the  first  war-vessel  with  boilers  designed  to  burn  anthracite 
coal,  thus  avoiding  the  volume  of  black  smoke  to  betray  her  presence 
to  an  enemy  :  blowers  were  used  for  the  first  time  in  naval  practice, 
and  she  was  the  first  steamer  provided  with  a  telescopic  smoke  pipe. 
Ericsson  was  the  first  engineer  to  couple  the  engine  direct  to  the 
screw  shaft,  other  experimenters  with  screws  using  intermediate 
gearing  in  deference  to  the  theories  of  the  day. 

The  engine  of  the  Princeton  may  be  roughly  described  as  a 
half-cylinder,  in  which  a  rectangular  piston  vibrated  like  a  barn  door 
on  its  hinges,  and  was  beyond  doubt  the  most  remarkable  modifica- 
tion of  the  steam  engine  ever  carried  into  successful  practice.  The 
principle  of  a  vibrating  rectangular  piston  is  an*old  mechanical 
device,  so  old,  in  fact,  that  it  was  embraced  in  Watt's  patent  as  one 
of  the  modes  of  transmitting  the  power  of  steam  to  machinery,  but, 
until  Ericsson's  time  ;  engineers  had  failed  to  build  successful 
engines  on  this  plan.  Ericsson's  plan  differed  radically  from  pre- 
vious attempts,  from  the  fact,  that  he  introduced,  opposite  the  main 
semi-cylinder,  a  much  smaller  one  with  its  piston  a  prolongation  of 
of  the  large  one  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  shaft,  both  being  acted 
on  by  the  steam  at  the  same  time  and  the  difference  in  their  powers 
being  the  effective  force  transmitted  to  the  crank  levers. 

In  the  Princeton  this  combined  or  double  semi-cylinder  was 
eight  feet  long  and  placed  horizontal  with  the  smaller  semi-cylinder 
uppermost.  The  smaller,  or  re-acting,  piston  was  ten  inches  wide 
and  the  lower,  or  working  piston  thirty-six  inches  wide.  This 
difference  leaves  twenty-six  inches  of  effective  width  of  piston,  with 
its  center  of  pressure  located  10+13=23  inches  from  the  center  of  the 
piston  shaft.  The  effective  piston  area  therefore  was  26x96=2,516 
square  inches,  moving  back  and  forth  through  an  arc  of  ninety 
degrees  with  an  arm  or  radius  of  twenty-three  inches,  the  distance 
of  the  center  of  pressure  from  the  center  of  the  piston  shaft. 

Before  laughing  at  this  contrivance  as  a  crude  effort  of  olden 
times  it  is  well  to  investigate  a  little,  and  we  will  find  that  it  pos- 
sessed peculiar  merits. ,  The  vibration  of  the  working  piston  will  be 
found  to  correspond  closely  to  the  beat  of  a  pendulum  ;  and  there- 
fore its  swing  during  the  first  half  of  each  vibration  would  be  mater- 
ially assisted  by  the  force  of  gravity.     The  arrangement  with  the 



steam  ports  underneath,  facilitated  the  outflow  of  condensed  water 
and  prevented  any  dangerous  accumulation  in  the  cylinder.  Centri- 
fugal force  aided  the  outward  tendency  of  the  packing,  and  in  the 
case  of  the  lower  piston  this  was  further  assisted  by  the  force  of 
gravity.  The  crank  levers  were  attached  to  the  piston  shafts  in 
nearly  the  same  plane  with  the  pistons,  which  relieved  the  journals 
of  that  shaft  from  irregular  strains.  The  small  angular  movement 
(ninety  degrees)  of  the  main  piston  was  also  an  important  feature. 
A  greater  motion  would  increase  the  power  of  any  given  sized 
engine  but  would  also  increase  the  strain  on  all  the  principal  bear- 


ings,  as  the  force  of  the  piston  obviously  increases  in  the  inverse 
ratio  of  the  sines  of  the  angles  of  the  piston  shaft  cranks,  with  refer- 
ence to  the  position  of  the  connecting  rods.  A  moderate  increase 
of  diameter  would  make  up  the  loss  of  power  due  to  the  short  arc 
through  which  the  piston  vibrates.  Another  advantage  resulting 
from  this  short  vibration  was  the  possibility  of  fitting  deep  cylinder 
covers  to  resist  the  upward  pressure  of  the  steam.  Finally  it  will  be 
noticed  that  there  are  very  few  working  parts,  and  the  moving  parts 
are  fewer  than  in  any  other  type  of  steam  engine,  except  possibly 
the  oscillating  engine  with  the  piston  rod  connected  directly  to  the 




Ordinary  slide  valves  of  the  locomotive  type  were  fitted  to  this 
peculiar  engine.  Two  of  these  engines  were  fitted  in  the  Princeton, 
parallel  to  the  crank-shaft  and  imparting  motion  by  the  connections 
shown  in  the  outline  sketch. 

The  ship  was  completed  and  ready  for  sea  about  the  first  of 
January,  1844,  and  was  exhibited  as  a  marine  wonder  at  various 
places  along  the  coast.  Although  this  was  some  time  after  the 
enactment  of  the  law  regulating  the  appointment  of  engineers  in  the 
naval  service,  Captain  Stockton  appointed  the  first  ones  for  this  ship 
as  though  the  ship  belonged  to  him  ;  indeed  it  is  not  improbable  he 
felt  a  certain  right  to  ownership,  he  being  a  man  of  wealth  had  spent 
much  of  his  own  money  on  the  vessel.  •  When  the  vessel  was  com- 
pleted he  sent  the  following  report  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy, 
which  is  very  interesting  and  gives  the  best  description  of  the  Prince- 
ton in  existence  : 

"  U.  S.  Ship  Pbincbton, 
"  Philadelphia,  Feb.  5th,  1844. 


"The  United  States  Ship  Princeton  having  received  her  arma- 
ment on  board,  and  being  nearly  ready  for  sea,  I  have  the  honor  to 
transmit  to  you  the  following  account  of  her  equipment,  etc. : 

"The  Princeton  is  a  full  rigged  ship  of  great  speed  and  power, 
able  to  perform  any  service  that  can  be  expected  from  a  ship  of  war. 
Constructed  upon  the  most  approved  principles  of  naval  architecture, 
she  is  believed  to  be  at  least  equal  to  any  ship  of  her  class  with  her 
sail,  and  she  has  an  auxiliary  power  of  steam  and  can  make  greater 
speed  than  any  sea  going  steamer  or  other  vessel  heretofore  built. 
Her  engines  lie  snug  in  the  bottom  of  the  vessel,  out  of  reach  of  an 
enemy's  shot,  and  do  not  at  all  interfere  with  the  use  of  the  sails, 
but  can  at  any  time  be  made  auxiliary  thereto.  She  shows  no  chim- 
ney, and  makes  no  smoke,  and  there  is  nothing  in  her  external  ap- 
pearance to  indicate  that  she  is  propelled  by  steam. 

"  The  advantages  of  the  Princeton  over  both  sailing  ships  and 
steamers  propelled  in  the  usual  way  are  great  and  obvious.  She  can 
go  in  and  out  of  port  at  pleasure,  without  regard  to  the  force  or  di- 
rection of  the  wind  or  tide,  or  the  thickness  of  the  ice.  She  can  ride 
safely  with  her  anchors  in  the  most  open  roadstead,  and  may  lie-to 


in  the  severest  gale  of  wind  with  safety.  She  can  not  only  save  her- 
self, but  will  be  able  to  tow  a  squadron  from  the  dangers  of  a  lee 
shore.  Using  ordinarily  the  power  of  the  wind  and  reserving  her 
fuel  for  emergencies,  she  can  remain  at  sea  the  same  length  of  time 
as  other  sailing  ships.  Making  no  noise,  smoke,  or  agitation 
of  the  water  (and  if  she  chooses,  showing  no  sail),  she  can  surprise 
an  enemy.  She  can  take  her  own  position  and  her  own  distance  from 
an  enemy.  Her  engines  and  water  wheel  being  below  the  surface 
of  the  water,  safe  from  an  enemy's  shot,  she  is  in  no  danger  of  be- 
ing disabled,  even  if  her  masts  should  be  destroyed.  She  will  not 
be  at  daily  expense  for  fuel  as  other  steamships  are.  The  engines 
being  seldom  used,  will  probably  outlast  two  such  ships.  These  ad- 
vantages make  the  Princeton,  in  my  opinion,  the  cheapest,  fastest, 
and  most  certain  ship  of  war  in  the  world. 

"  The  equipments  of  this  ship  are  of  the  plainest  and  most  sub- 
stantial kind,  the  furniture  of  the  cabins  being  made  of  white  pine 
boards,  painted  white,  with  mahogany  chairs,  table,  and  sideboard, 
and  an  American  manufactured  oil  cloth  on  the  floor. 

"  To  economize  room,  and  that  the  ship  may  be  better  venti- 
lated, curtains  of  American  manufactured  linen  are  substituted  for 
the  usual  and  more  customary  and  expensive  wooden  bulkheads,  by 
which  arrangement  the  apartments  of  the  men  and  officers  may  in 
an  instant  be  thrown  into  one,  and  a  degree  of  spaciousness  and  com- 
fort is  attained  unusual  in  a  vessel  of  her  class. 

"The  Princeton  is  armed  with  two  long  225-pounder  wrought 
iron  guns,  and  twelve  42-pounder  earronades,  all  of  which  may  be 
used  at  once  on  either  side  of  the  ship.  She  can  consequently  throw 
a  greater  weight  of  metal  at  one  broadside  than  most  frigates.  The 
big  guns  of  the  Princeton  can  be  fired  with  an  effect  terrific  and  al- 
most incredible,  and  with  a  certainty  heretofore  unknown.  The  ex- 
traordinary effects  of  the  shot  were  proved  by  firing  at  a  target, 
which  was  made  to  represent  a  section  of  the  two  sides  and  deck  of 
a  74-gun  ship,  timbered,  kneed,  planked  and  bolted  in  the  same 
manner.  This  target  was  560  yards  from  the  gun.  With  the 
smaller  charges  of  powder,  the  shot  passed  through  these  immense 
masses  of  timber  (being  fifty-seven  inches  thick),  tearing  it  away  and 
splintering  it  for  several  feet  on  each  side,  and  covering  the  whole 
surface  of  the  ground  for  a  hundred  yards  square  with  fragments  of 


wood  and  iron.  The  accuracy  with  which  these  guns  throw  their 
immense  shot  (which  are  three  feet  in  circumference),  may  be  judged 
by  this:  the  six  shots  fired  in  succession  at  the  same  elevation  struck 
the  same  horizontal  plank  more  than  half  a  mile  distant.  By  the  ap- 
plication of  the  various  arts  to  the  purposes  of  war  on  board  the 
Princeton,  it  is  believed  that  the  art  of  gunnery  for  sea  service  has 
for  the  first  time  been  reduced  to  something  like  mathematical  cer- 
tainty. The  distances  to  which  these  guns  can  throw  their  shot  at 
every  necessary  angle  of  elevation  has  been  ascertained  by  a  series 
of  careful  experiments.  The  distance  from  the  ship  to  any  object  is 
readily  ascertained  with  an  instrument  on  board,  contrived  for  that 
purpose  by  an  observation  which  it  requires  but  an  instant  to  make, 
and  by  inspection  without  calculation.  By  self-acting  locks,  the  guns 
can  be  fired  accurately  at  the  necessary  elevation,  no  matter  what  the 
motion  of  the  ship  may  be.  It  is  confidently  believed'that  this  small 
ship  will  be  able  to  battle  with  any  vessel,  however  large,  if  she  is 
not  invincible  against  any  foe.  The  improvements  in  the  art  of  war 
adopted  on  board  the  Princeton  may  be  productive  of  more  important 
results  than  anything  that  has  occured  since  the  invention  of  gun- 
powder. The  numerical  force  of  other  navies,  so  long  boasted,  may 
be  set  at  naught.  The  ocean  may  again  become  neutral  ground,  and 
the  rights  of  the  smallest  as  well  as  the  greatest  nations  may  once 
more  be  respected.  All  of  which,  for  the  honor  and  defense  of  every 
inch  of  our  territory,  is  most  respectfully  submitted  to  the  honorable 
Secretary  of  the  Navy,  for  the  information  of  the  President  and  Con- 
gress of  the  United  States. 

' '  By  your  obedient  and  faithful  servant, 

"E.  F.  Stockton, 

"Captain,  U.  S.  Navy. 

On  February  28,  1844,  the  Princeton,  sailed  from  Washington 
on  a  pleasure  and  trial  trip  down  the  Potomac  river,  having  on  board 
President  Tyler  and  his  Cabinet  and  a  distinguished  party  of  civil 
and  military  officials,  invited  by  Captain  Stockton  to  witness  the  per- 
formance of  the  vessel  and  her  machinery.  The  trip  was  a  great  suc- 
cess professionally  and  convivially,  and  Captain  Stockton  was  lion- 
ized as  the  greatest  inventor  of  the  times,  it  being  the  general  im- 
pression that  the  ship  and  all  that  was  in  her  had  sprung  from  his 


vigorous  brain.  On  the  return  trip  one  of  those  irresponsible  per- 
sons who  are  always  doing  something  that  ought  not  to  be  done  and 
whose  names  are  never  known  afterward,  wanted  to  have  the  big 
gun  known  as  ' '  Peacemaker, ' '  fired  again  ' '  just  for  fun, ' '  to  which 
Captain  Stockton  dissented,  as  the  guns  had  been  thoroughly  exer- 
cised earlier  in  the  day;  he  yielded,  however,  upon  the  good-natured 
wish  expressed  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  let  the  guests  have 
all  the  sport  they  wished,  and  the  gun  was  fired.  It  burst,  injuring 
many  people,  among  them  Stockton  himself,  and  killing  the  Hon. 
Abel  P.  Upshur,  Secretary  of  State;  Hon.  Thomas.  W.  Gilmer, 
Secretary  of  the  Navy;  Captain  Beverly  Kennon,  U.  S.  Navy;  Hon. 
Virgil  Maxey  of  Maryland;  Mr.  David  Gardiner,  and  a  colored  ser- 
vant. Mr.  Gilmer  had  been  Secretary  of  the  Navy  less  than  two 
weeks,  and  Mr.  Upshur  had  been  Secretary  of  the  Navy  at  a  period 
shortly  before  he  received  the  portfolio  of  the  Department  of  State. 
Mr.  Gardiner  was  a  descendant  of  the  ' '  lords  of  the  manor' '  of  Gar- 
diner's Island,  and  his  tragic  death  was  the  cause  of  an  interesting 
romance;  his  body  was  taken  to  the  White  House  by  direction  of  the 
President,  and  in  the  resulting  distress  and  sympathy  President  Ty- 
ler developed  such  an  interest  in  Gardiner's  beautiful  daughter  Julia 
that  he  afterward  married  her. 

When  Ericsson  came  to  the  United  States  he  brought  among 
many  other  inventions  a  large  wrought  iron  gun,  designed  by  him- 
self and  made  in  England.  On  trial  this  gun  developed  cracks 
which  Ericsson  remedied  by  an  expedient  now  in  general  use  in  gun 
making,  namely,  by  shrinking  bands  on  it.  Thus  altered  it  was 
fired  more  than  one  hundred  times  with  great  success,  its  projectiles 
piercing  a  4^-inch  wrought  iron  target,  and  it  was  placed  on  board 
the  Princeton,  with  the  name  of  "  Oregon,"  as  one  of  the  two  heavy 
guns  of  that  vessel ;  the  name  ' '  Oregon  ' '  was  adopted  because  that 
word  was  in  everybody's  mouth  owing  to  an  international  contro- 
versy then  in  progress,  the  British  Lion  being  engaged  in  an  attempt 
to  place  his  heavy  paw  upon  our  extreme  north-western  territories. 
The  other  great  gun  of  the  Princeton — the  "Peacemaker" — was 
Captain  Stockton's  gun,  and  was  simply  an  imitation  of  Ericsson's, 
being  regarded  as  an  improvement  over  the  latter,  as  its  breach  was 
a  foot  greater  in  diameter  and  the  gun  was  heavier  throughout,  the 
quality  of  its  metal  being  over  looked  in  the  effort  to  provide  quan- 


tity;  it  was  of  the  same  calibre,  viz,  twelve  inches.  Its  weight  was 
about  ten  tonB  and  was  claimed  to  be  the  largest  forging  then  in  the 
world  and  a  great  manufacturing  triumph,  as  only  a  few  years  before 
the  forges  of  the  United  States  could  not  produce  a  wrought-iron 
shaft  for  the  second  Fulton. 

It  is  a  matter  of  simple  history  that  Captain  Stockton  allowed 
the  belief  to  become  general  that  he  was  the  originator  of  everything 
connected  with  the  Princeton  and  tacitly,  if  not  directly,  withheld 
from  Ericsson  the  credit  which  was  his  due.  In  the  eulogistic  ac- 
count of  the  Princeton  before  quoted,  the  name  of  John  Ericsson 
does  not  appear,  although  every  detail  mentioned  with  so  much  en- 
thusiasm as  great  improvements  was  his  invention.  The  hull  of  the 
Princeton  was  designed  by  Ericsson ;  the  engines  were  of  his  patent, 
and  so  was  the  screw  propeller;  the  telescopic  smoke  pipe  and  fire 
room  blowers  were  his;  the  banded  gun  was  his  invention;  the  range 
finder  was  his;  the  automatic  gun  lock  was  his;  the  Princeton  was 
essentially  the  child  of  Ericsson's  brain.  So  long  as  the  career  of 
the  Princeton  amounted  to  a  triumphal  procession  from  one  city  to 
another,  John  Ericsson  remained  in  the  shadow  of  obscurity,  but 
with  the  bursting  of  the  "Peacemaker"  he  was  remembered  and 
summoned  to  Washington.  "Captain  Stockton,"  as  Mr.  Church 
very  pointedly  remarks,  ' '  bethought  himself  of  Ericsson.  If  he  was 
not  disposed  to  share  the  credit  of  success  with  him  he  was  quite 
ready  to  give  him  his  full  measure  of  responsibility  for  disaster." 
Ericsson  declined  to  be  held  responsible  for  an  imitation  gun  not  of 
his  making  and  his  letter  in  reply  to  the  summons  to  proceed  to 
Washington  is  a  veritable  gem  of  irony  and  independence.  Stock- 
ton never  forgave  him  and  greatly  injured  him  afterward  by  prevent- 
ing the  payment  by  the  Government  of  Ericsson's  bill  for  his  patents 
and  his  invaluable  professional  work  for  the  two  years  that  the  ship 
was  under  construction.  In  denying  Ericsson's  claim  for  payment 
for  his  services  Stockton  referred  to  him  as  a  "  mechanic  of  some 
skill,"  and  made  the  remarkable  statement  that  he  had  allowed  him, 
"  as  a  particular  act  of  favor  and  kindness,"  to  superintend  the  con- 
struction of  the  Princeton's  machinery.  Not  many  months  before, 
at  a  dinner  in  Princeton,  celebrating  the  launching  of  the  ship,  Cap- 
tain Stockton  had  introduced  Ericsson  as  the  man  for  whom  he  had 
searched  all  over  the  world,  who  was  capable  of  inventing  and 
carrying  out  all  that    was    necessary  to  make  a  complete  ship  of 



war.  Ericsson  experienced  all  the  weary  circumlocution  of  bills  in 
Congress,  suits  in  the  court  of  claims,  &c,  and  to  the  great  shame 
of  our  country  eventually  died  with  the  bills  for  his  services  on  the 
Princeton  still  unpaid.  The  whole  miserable  story  is  told  in  Mr. 
Win.  C.  Church's  admirable  history  of  the  life  of  John  Ericsson,  a 
book  that  is  well  worth  the  study  of  all  engineers. 

The  .Princeton  was  employed  in  the  home  squadron  during  the 
years  1845,  '46  and  '47,  and  was  actively  engaged  in  the  Mexican 
War,  her  performance  under  sail  and  steam  at  all  times  being  high- 
ly satisfactory,  and  her  reliability  as  a  steamer  remarkable.  The 
mean  results,  when  under  steam  alone  during  this  period,  were  as 

Mean  steam  pressure  in  boilers 11.75  pounds. 

Mean  initial  pressure  in  cylinders  (throttle 

one-fifth  open) 6.3  " 

Double  vibrations  of  piston,  per  minute. .  .22.58        " 
Consumption  of  anthracite  coal  per  hour, 

fan  blast 1,293 

Mean  effective  pressure  throughout  stroke,         9        " 

Horse-power  developed  by  engines 191.893 

Speed  of  ship  in  knots,  per  hour 7. 29 

Slip  of  the  screw 10.38  per  cent. 

Sea  water  evaporated  per  hour  per  pound 

of  coal 6.64  pounds. 

In  1847  the  Princeton  was  supplied  with  new  boilers  of  the 
same  number  and  external  dimensions  as  the  old,  but  with  about 
twenty  per  cent,  more  heating  surface*  thus  improved  she  sailed  for 
the  Mediterranean  station  where  she  remained  two  years  under  the 
command  of  Commander  Frederick  Engle.  Mr.  Henry  Hunt  was 
her  chief  engineer  the  first  part  of  this  cruise,  succeeded  by  Joshua 
Follansbee.  On  this  cruise  the  performance  under  steam  was  much 
better  than  it  had  been  with  the  original  boilers  and  it  was  claimed 
that  she  was,  considered  in  connection  with  the  amount  of  fuel  con- 
sumed, the  most  efficient  steamer  in  existence.  She  was  an  object 
of  interest  and  admiration  to  European  engineers  and  her  cruise  in 
the  Mediterranean  did  much  to  break  down  the  prejudice  of  sailors 
against  steamers,  and  of  engineers  against  the  screw  and  the  practice 


of  coupling  engines  direct  to  the  shaft.  At  sea  she  was  readily  han- 
dled, either  with  steam  or  sail,  and  had  no  bad  quality  except  the 
fault  of  pitching  violently  owing  to  her  great  leanness  forward  and 
aft.  Under  sail,  with  the  propeller  uncoupled,  she  was  claimed  to 
be  as  fast  and  handy  as  most  sailing  vessels,  and  she  is  said  to  have 
beaten  some  sloops  of  war  and  frigates  in  clawing  off  a  lee  shore  in 
a  heavy  gale,  under  sail  and  dragging  her  screw. 

The  old  navy  captains  had  strenuously  asserted  that  steam  could 
never  be  practically  applied  to  naval  warfare,  and  the  defects  in  the 
first  side  wheel  steamers  and  failure  of  Hunter's  system  of  submerged 
propulsion  added  weight  to  their  predictions.  The  appearance  and 
successful  performances  of  the  Princeton,  without  any  objection- 
able side-wheels  and  with  the  machinery  entirely  below  the  water 
line,  left  the  objectors  with  no  argument  except  their  own  sentimen- 
tal predilections  in  favor  of  sails,  and  for  this  reason  the  Princeton 
may  truly  be  credited  with  the  honor  of  being  the  germ  of  our  steam 
navy,  for  after  her  first  service  there  was  no  longer  any  doubt  in  the 
minds  of  sensible  men  that  the  old  order  of  things  must  yield  to  the 
new.  Besides  inaugurating  the  era  of  steam  men  of  war,  the  Prin- 
ceton may  be  credited  with  introducing  another  new  factor  into  the 
problem  of  marine  warfare.  It  has  been  previously  mentioned  that 
Ericsson's  wrought-iron  gun  had  been  used  to  perforate  an  iron 
target,  and,  although  that  particular  gun  was  removed  from  the  ship 
after  the  disaster  to  its  copy,  this  fact  set  people  thinking  about  how 
to  resist  the  fire  of  such  guns.  As  Lieutenant  Jacob  W.  Miller  very 
aptly  says  in  an  essay  read  before  the  U.  S.  Naval  Institute,  "  When 
the  U.  S.  S.  Princeton,  propelled  by  Ericsson's  screw  and  armed  by 
Ericsson's  wrought-iron  gun,  was  launched  the  war  between  armor 
and  projectiles  began." 

When  the  Princeton  returned  from  the  Mediterranean  in  1849 
she  was  condemned  by  a  survey  and  immediately  broken  up  at  the 
Boston  Navy  Yard.  It  is  asserted  in  Commodore  Stockton's  biog- 
raphy that  the  hasty  condemnation  and  destruction  of  this  ship  was 
the  work  of  certain  naval  captains  who  were  jealous  of  the  fame  and 
popularity  he  had  won  in  championing  the  cause  of  steam  in  the 
navy,  and  it  is  certain  that  much  hard  feeling  was  occasioned  by  the 
event,  but  this  quarrel  may  well  be  passed  over  in  silence,  especially 
as  its  principals  have  long  since  ceased  the  contentions  of  this  world. 
Two  years  later  when  Stockton  was  a  member  of  the  United  States 


Senate  he  prevailed  upon  the  Navy  Department  to  rebuild  his  ship, 
and  a  new  hull  was  accordingly  built  at  the  Boston  navy  yard,  such 
of  the  old  timbers  as  were  fit  being  worked  into  the  new  structure. 
The  new  Princeton  was  a  clipper-built  ship,  177  feet  long,  33  feet 
8  inches  beam,  and  of  1370  tons  displacement  at  mean  draft,  which 
dimensions  it  will  be  noticed  correspond  very  closely  with  those  of 
our  present  Enterprise  class  of  corvettes.  The  old  Ericsson  semi- 
cylinder  engines,  being  in  good  order,  were  not  destroyed  with  the 
ship,  and  these  were  taken  to  Baltimore  and  thoroughly  overhauled 
at  the  Vulcan  Iron  Works,  under  the  supervision  of  Chief  Engineer 
Wm.  H.  Shock,  U.  S.  Navy.  The  only  material  change  made  in 
them  was  in  the  addition  of  Sickel's  adjustable  cut-off.  Three  iron 
boilers  of  the  "  Lamb  and  Summer  "  patent,  previously  referred  to 
in  connection  with  the  Alleghany,  were  supplied  by  the  Baltimore 
firm;  also  a  four-bladed  composition  propeller,  16  feet  in  diameter, 
not  unlike  in  general  form  the  propellers  in  use  fifteen  years  ago. 

A  long  delay  in  completing  the  ship  occured  on  account  of  a 
controversy  between  the  engine  builders  and  the  Navy  Department 
as  to  whether  the  machinery  was  to  be  installed  in  Boston  or  Balti- 
more, but  the  Department,  being  anxious  to  get  the  ship  for  the  Ja- 
pan expedition,  finally  sent  her  to  Baltimore  and  the  machinery  was 
put  in  place  during  the  summer  of  1852.  Eventually  completed,  the 
Princeton  sailed  from  Annapolis  in  November,  1852,  in  company 
with  the  Mississippi,  but  on  the  voyage  down  Chesapeake  Bay  the 
boilers  gave  so  much  trouble  that  she  was  detained  at  Norfolk  and 
the  Mississippi  sailed  without  her.  The  Board  of  Engineers  named 
in  Chapter  IV.  as  having  been  organized  to  investigate  the  failures 
of  certain  vessels,  reported  in  the  case  of  the  Princeton  that  the  ad- 
dition of  the  Sickel's  cut-off  was  injudicious  and  that  the  failure  of 
the  ship  was  attributable  to  the  patent  boilers;  so  far  as  any  individ- 
ual was  to  blame  for  the  failure,  the  report  stated  that  Mr.  Stuart, 
the  former  engineer-in-chief,  who  had  recommended  the  use  of  the 
Lamb  and  Summer  boilers  was  the  responsible  person.  Commodore 
Stockton  felt  that  his  pet  ship  had  been  terribly  bungled  in  rebuild- 
ing, possibly  maliciously  so,  and  he  denounced  the  whole  affair  by 
a  vigorous  speech  in  the  Senate,  referring  to  the  new  Princeton  as 
"  an  abortion  in  the  naval  service."  After  lying  idle  in  Norfolk 
for  a  year  or  two,  the  Princeton  was  taken  to  Philadelphia  and  used 
as  a  receiving  ship  until  October  9,  1866,  when  she  was  sold. 


"I  hold  every  man  a  debtor  to  his  profession;  from  the  which  as  men  of 
course  do  seek  to  receive  countenance  and  profit,  so  ought  they  of  duty  to  en- 
deavour themselves  by  way  of  amends  to  be  a  help  and  ornament  thereunto," 

Francis  Bacon. 

Reorganization  of  the  Engineer  Corps — Case  of  Chief  Engineer  C.  B.  Moss — All 
Assistant  Engineers  Examined  and  Re-arranged  According  to  Proficiency — 
Laws  and  Regulations  Affecting  the  Engineer  Corps  from  1845  to  1850^- 
Resignation  of  Chief  Engineer  John  Faron,  Jr. 

THE  act  of  August  31,  1842,  creating  the  engineer  corps  of  the 
navy,  authorized  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  appoint  the  en- 
gineer-in-chief  and  the  chief  engineers,  as  well  as  the  assistant  engi- 
neers. In  the  original  draft  of  this  bill  it  was  provided  that  the 
engineer-in-chief  and  chief  engineers  should  be  commissioned  offi- 
cers, nominated  by  the  President  and  confirmed  by  the  Senate,  which 
provision  met  with  approval,  but  disappeared  at  the  last  moment 
when  the  bill  assumed  its  final  form.  This  omission  was  said  to  be 
due  to  the  exertions  of  Mr.  Gilbert  L.  Thompson,  who  had  arranged 
to  be  appointed  to  the  new  office  of  engineer-in-chief,  and,  not  being 
an  engineer  by  profession,  was  fearful  that  the  Senate  would  not 
confirm  him  when  nominated;  so  he  used  his  political  influence  to 
further  his  interests  by  making  the  way  to  the  desired  office  as  free 
from  legislative  and  legal  forms  and  ceremonies  as  possible. 

After  Mr.  Thompson's  short  career  as  engineer- in -chief,  his 
successor,  Mr.  Haswell,  immediately  undertook  the  task  of  remedy- 
ing the  defect  in  organization  occasioned  by  the  diplomacy  of  his 
predecessor,  his  efforts  being  so  successful  that  the  naval  appropria- 
tion bill  of  the  following  year  (approved  March  3,  1845)  contained 
the  following: — 

Sec.  7.  And  he  it  further  enacted,  That  in  lieu  of  the  mode  heretofore  pro- 
vided by  law,  the  engineer-in-chief  and  chief  engineers  of  the  navy  shall  be  ap- 
pointed by  the  President,  by  and  with  the  advice  and  consent  of  the  Senate,  and  that 
the  President,  by  and  with  the  like  advice  and  consent,  may  appoint  six  engineers, 
to  be  employed  in  the  revenue  service  of  the  United  States,  and  the  Secretary  of  the 
Treasury  may  appoint  six  assistant  engineers,  to  be  employed  in  the  like  service,  one 
engineer  and  one  assistant  to  be  assigned  to  each  steamer  in  the  said  service,  if  the 


same  shall  be  deemed  necessary  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  who  shall  pre- 
scribe the  duties  to  be  performed  by  said  officers  respectively;  each  of  the  said  engi- 
neers shall  be  entitled  to  receive  the  same  pay  as  now  is,  or  hereafter  may  be,  by 
law,  allowed  to  first  lieutenants  in  the  revenue  service;  and  that  each  assistant  engi- 
neer shall  be  entitled  to  receive  the  same  pay  that  now  is,  or  hereafter  may  be,  by 
law,  allowed  to  third  lieutenants  In  said  service. 

The  enactment  of  this  law  made  it  necessary  for  the  names  of 
the  chief  engineers  to  he  sent  to  the  Senate  for  confirmation  for 
commissions,  and  this  furnished  the  engineer-in-chief  with  an  op- 
portunity to  re-arrange  them  in  what,  according  to  his  judgment, 
was  their  proper  order  of  merit,  his  recommendation  on  the  subject 
to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  dated  May  9,  1845,  being  approved 
and  a  re-arrangement  accordingly  made  by  numbering  the  commis- 
sions. There  were  then  seven  chief  engineers  ranking  with  each 
other  according  to  date  of  appointment  in  the  following  order: 

John  Faron,  Jr.,  appointed  January  13,  1840. 
Andrew  Hebard,  appointed  February  6,  1840. 
James  Thompson,  appointed  April  14,  1842. 
Win.  P.  Williamson,  appointed  October  20,  1842. 
Charles  B.  Moss,  appointed  May  29,  1844. 
Wm.  Sewell,  Jr.,  appointed  February  11,  1845. 
W.  W.  W.  Wood,  appointed  March  15,  1845. 

By  Mr.  Haswell's  recommendation,  this  order  of  precedence 
was  changed  to  the  following,  in  order  of  number  of  commission: 

1.  John  Faron,  Jr. 

2.  Andrew  Hebard. 

3.  Wm.  Sewell,  Jr. 

4.  W.  W.  W.  Wood. 

5.  James  Thompson. 

6.  Wm.  P.  Williamson. 

7.  Charles  B.  Moss. 

This  new  arrangement  was  of  course  not  agreeable  to  those  who 
were  reduced  in  standing,  Mr.  Williamson  especially  feeling  ag- 
grieved at  having  Messrs.  Sewell  and  Wood,  who  had  just  entered 
the  corps  as  chief  engineers  direct  from  civil  life,  placed  above  him, 
and  the  case  does  appear  to  savor  of  hardship,  but  the  judgment  of 
the  engineer-in- chief  was  allowed  to  stand  as  final,  and  Mr.  Will- 


iamson's  protests  to  the  Department  availed  him  nothing.  Chief 
Engineer  Moss  also  came  to  grief  at  the  hands  of  the  Department  at 
the  same  time.  He  was  a  close  friend  of  President  Tyler,  and  had 
been  his  private  secretary  prior  to  receiving  an  appointment  as  a 
chief  engineer  in  the  navy,  and  after  that  remained  in  Washington 
as  a  member  of  the  President's  household.  President  Tyler's  term 
of  office  expired  March  i,  1845,  and  the  following  day  the  Navy 
Department  took  possession  of  Mr.  Moss  by  ordering  him  to  Pitts- 
burgh as  inspector  of  machinery,  building  in  that  city  for  the  Alle- 
ghany. Two  months  later,  when  Mr.  Haswell  recommended  the  re- 
arrangement of  the  chief  engineers,  he  reported  to  the  Department 
that  ' '  Mr.  Moss,  without  the  advantages  of  personal  observation 
consequent  upon  the  immediate  management  of  the  steam  engine, 
has  made  himself  well  acquainted  with  its  operation  and  possesses 
high  attainments  in  physics  and  mathematics. ' '  Proteges  of  Presi- 
dent Tyler  were  not  popular  with  the  new  administration,  however, 
and  the  Navy  Department  detached  Mr.  Moss  from  his  duty  in 
Pittsburgh,  placed  him  on  furlough,  and  ordered  him  to  report  at  a 
future  date  to  the  engineer-in-chief  for  an  examination  as  to  his 
qualifications  for  sea  duty,  the  letter  of  explanation  accompanying 
the  order  stating: 

"In  consequence  of  the  Department's  want  of  confidence  in 
your  ability  to  assume  the  detailed  direction  and  perform  the  prac- 
tical duties  of  a  chief  engineer  attached  to  a  sea-going  steamer,  and 
at  the  same  time,  entertaining  the  disposition  to  concede  to  you  all 
proper  indulgence  and  facilities,  it  has  decided  that  for  the  purpose 
of  giving  you  an  opportunity  practically  to  acquire  the  knowledge 
which  it  conceives  you  to  be  in  want  of,  you  will  be  detached  from 
your  present  duties  and  put  on  furlough  until  the  15th  of  December 
next. ' ' 

About  the  middle  of  January  following,  Mr.  Moss  was  ordered 
before  an  examining  board  composed  of  the  engineer-in-chief  and 
the  two  senior  chief  engineers  of  the  navy,  which  resulted  in  his  re- 
ceiving the  following  notification  from  Secretary  Bancroft: 

"In  consequence  of  the  result  of  your  examination,  which  has 
been  communicated  to  you,  I  am  authorized  by  the  President  to  in- 
form you  that  your  commision  as  a  chief  engineer  in  the  navy  of  the 


United  States  is  hereby  revoked,  and  you  are  no  longer  a  chief  en- 

"A  warrant  as  a  second  assistant  engineer  in  the  navy,  in  ac- 
cordance with  the  report  of  the  Board  of  Engineers  before  which 
you  were  examined,  will  be  given  you  upon  your  signifying  your 
readiness  to  accept  it." 

This  letter  was  dated  January  30,  1846,  and  as  Mr.  Moss  did 
not  signify  his  willingness  to  accept  the  proffered  warrant,  his  con- 
nection with  the  service  ceased  on  that  date.  The  affair  is  narrated 
as  an  illustration  of  the  danger  of  relying  upon  political  influence 
for  official  position,  and  also  as  serving  to  show  the  uncertain  tenure 
of  a  commission  in  the  navy  in  olden  times,  which  latter  uncertainty 
was  not  confined  to  the  young  engineer  corps,  but  menaced  all  com- 
missioned officers  alike. 

Having  disposed  of  the  chief  engineers,  Mr.  Haswell  turned 
his  attention  to  the  assistants,  and  recommended  that  they  all,  irre- 
spective of  grade  or  length  of  service  in  the  navy,  be  subjected  to  an 
examination  to  establish  their  fitness  for  the  service  and  determine 
their  relative  merits,  which  recommendation  was  approved  by  Sec- 
retary Bancroft,  and  an  examining  board  convened  by  his  order  in 
the  city  of  Washington  on  the  9th  of  July,  1845.  This  board  con- 
sisted of  Engineer-in-Chief  Haswell  as  president  and  Chief  Engi- 
neers John  Faron,  Jr.,  and  Wm.  W.  W.  Wood  as  members,  and 
before  it  all  the  assistant  engineers  who  were  within  summoning  dis- 
tance were  ordered  to  appear. 

The  proceedings  of  the  examining  board  partook  largely  of 
"  star  chamber  "  methods,  as  may  be  seen  from  the  following  letter 
of  instructions  issued  to  the  board  by  the  chief  of  the  Bureau  of 
Construction,  Equipment  and  Repairs,  who  represented  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Navy  for  the  time,  and  to  which  bureau  the  engineering 
branch  was  attached  as  a  sub-department  or  bureau: 

"  Messrs.  C.  H.  Haswell,      1 

John  Faron,  J.  Engineers. 

W.  W.  W.  Wood,  j 


' '  The  board  will  take  particular  care  to  ascertain  the  qualifica- 
tions of  the  candidates  for  all  the  duties  that  may  be  required  of 


them,  as  assistant  engineers,  and  satisfy  themselves  of  their  moral, 
as  well  as  professional  fitness  for  the  public  service. 

' '  Having  ascertained  the  merits  of  the  candidates  as  above, 
the  board  will  proceed  to  class  them  as  first,  second  and  third  assist- 
ants— taking  into  view  professional  and  moral  fitness  and  other  cir- 
cumstances which  may  give  claim  to  preference. 

"Having  classed  the  candidates  as  above,  the  board  will  ar- 
range them  in  their  several  classes  according  to  merit. 

' '  The  appointments  now  held  by  assistant  engineers  are  to  be 
considered  as  temporary,  and  not  giving  claim  to  precedence,  ex- 
cept in  cases  when  candidates  may  be  thought  to  be  equal  in  merit, 
then  preference  will  be  given  to  the  senior  appointment. 

"The  board  will  admit  but  one  candidate  for  examination  at  a 
time,  the  examination  is  to  be  considered  private  and  confidential, 
and  it  will  impress  upon  the  mind  of  each  candidate,  and  enjoin  it  on 
him,  that  he  is  not  to  disclose  to  any  one  the  course  of  examination, 
the  questions  asked  him,  or  anything  that  may  occur  in  the  session 
of  the  board. 

' '  The  decisions  at  which  the  board  may  arrive  are  to  be  com- 
municated to  no  one ;  but  are,  when  the  whole  examination  is  com- 
pleted, to  be  submitted  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  for  such  action 
as  he  may  deem  proper. 

"  By  order  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy. 

"  W.  B.  Shubeick, 
' '  for  Com.  Morris, 
"Bureau  of  Construction,  Equipment  and  Repairs,  July  8,  1845." 

At  that  time  the  different  grades  of  assistant  engineers  were 
composed  of  the  following  members,  arranged  in  order  of  seniority 
according  to  length  of  service: 




1.  Hiram  Sanford, 

2.  William  Scott, 

3.  James  Cochrane, 

4.  Henry  Hunt, 

5.  D.  B.  Martin, 

6.  John  Alexander, 

7.  James  Atkinson, 

8.  Thomas  Copeland, 

9.  Levi  Griffin, 

10.  B.  F.  Isherwood, 

11.  Alexander  Birkbeck. 





A.  S.  Palmer, 
J.  S.  Rutherford, 
J.  K.  Mathews, 
Gilbert  Sherwood, 
N.  C.  Davis, 
Daniel  Murphy, 
J.  M.  Middleton, 
William  Luce, 
Levi  T.  Spencer, 
J.  F.  Dryburgh. 


Smith  Thompson, 
Josbua  Follansbee, 
Wm.  F.  Mercier, 
John  Gallagher, 
William  Taggart, 
Samuel  Archbold, 
John  Serro, 
Thomas  Dickson. 
Theodore  Zeller, 
M.  M.  Thompson, 
JameB  W.  King, 
Robert  Danby, 
William  H.  Shock, 
Charles  Coleman. 

After  examining  all  the  available  assistant  engineers  the  result 
of  the  examination  was  reported  as  follows: 

"Office  of  Enginekb  Cobps,  U.  S.  N., 
"  Jnly  28th,  1845. 


"In  behalf  of  the  Board  for  the  examination  of  Assistant 
Engineers  that  was  convened  on  the  9th  instant,  I  have  to  report: 

"That  there  were  twenty-seven  Assistants  examined,  one  of 
whom  was  rejected. 

' '  The  accompanying  paper  contains  a  list  of  the  names  of  those 
that  were  passed,  arranged  in  the  several  grades  and  numbered  in 
the  order  in  which  they  are  recommended  to  be  placed. 

"In  consideration  of  this  being  the  first  occasion  since  the 
organization  of  the  Engineer  Corps  that  duty  of  this  nature  has  been 
performed,  and  as  many  changes  in  the  different  grades  are  recom- 
mended to  be  made,  I  deem  it  proper  to  recur  to  the  irregular 
manner  in  which  the  present  tenure  of  appointments  of  those  ex- 
amined originated. 

"Thus  from  1837  to  1842  there  did  not  exist  the  grade  of 
Third  Assistant,  and  not  until  1842  was  there  an  examination  prior 
to  admission  into  the  corps,  and  even  up  to  the  present  time  there 
has  not  been  an  appointment  under  any  defined  regulations  or  re- 

"With  these  facts  in  view  it  is  fair  to  infer  that  errors  of 



position  could  not  have  been  avoided;  added  to  which,  observation, 
ambition,  and  a  difference  in  capacity,  have  secured  to  some  (since 
their  appointments  in  the  service)  that  advantage  which  is  so  readily 
obtained  when  their  attendant  results  are  contrasted  with  indiffer- 
ence and  a  less  regard  to  the  exactions  of  advancement. 

"  The  want  of  a  working  model  of  a  condensing  engine  for  the 
purposes  of  illustration  and  reference  was  much  felt,  and  in  future 
examinations  of  candidates  for  admission  into  the  corps  much  incon- 
venience will  be  experienced  without  the  use  of  one.  I  recommend 
that  one  be  constructed  at  the  navy  yard  in  Washington — the  cost  of 
which  should  not  exceed  $300. 

"Mr.  Alexander  Birkbeck,  Jr. ,  is  recommended  as  worthy  of  an 
examination  for  promotion  to  a  Chief  Engineer  whenever  the  De- 
partment may  see  fit  to  add  to  the  number  of  that  grade.  First 
Assistant  Thomas  Copeland  from  physical  infirmity,  added  to  the 
want  of  professional  experience  as  a  marine  engineer,  is  considered 
unfit  to  discharge  the  duties  pertaining  to  an  Assistant  Engineer  in 
the  Naval  Service. 

'  I  am,  very  respectfully, 

' '  Your  obedient  servant, 

"Chas.  JEL  Haswell.  " 

The  paper  referred  to  in  the  above  report  as  giving  the  names 
of  the  assistant  engineers,  re -arranged  in  the  order  of  merit  recom- 
mended by  the  examining  board,  shows  that  the  following  order, 
which  was  officially  approved,  was  recommended: 





Alexander  Birkbeck,  Jr 

Joshua  Follansbee, 

John  M.  Middleton, 


Henry  Hunt, 

John  Alexander, 

Wm.  F.  Mercier, 


Daniel  B.  Martin, 

James  Atkinson, 

William  Taggart, 


Hiram  Sanford. 

Levi  Griffin, 

William  Luce, 


James  Cochrane, 

Levi  T.  Spencer, 
Albert  S.  Palmer, 

James  W.  King, 


James  K.  Dryburgh, 
Theodore  Zeller, 


Jesse  S.  Rutherford, 


Samuel  Archbold, 

Kobert  Danby, 


Nay  lor  0.  Davis, 

William  H.  Shock, 


Daniel  Murphy, 

John  Serro, 


M.  M.  Thompson. 


Of  the  eight  assistants  not  examined  in  July,'  two,  Second  As- 
sistant Gilbert  Sherwood  and  Third  Assistant  Smith  Thompson,  de- 
clined the  examination  and  resigned.  The  other  six,  the  vessels  to 
which  they  were  attached  having  returned  to  the  United  States,  were 
ordered  before  the  board  in  December  and  January  following,  and 
examined,  Chief  Engineer  Andrew  Hebard  being  then  one  of  the 
examiners  in  place  of  Mr.  Wood,  who  had  been  sent  to  New  Orleans 
to  superintend  a  general  overhauling  of  the  machinery  of  the 
General  Harney.  Those  examined  were  first  assistants  Wm.  Scott 
and  B.  F.  Isherwood;  second  assistant  John  K.  Mathews,  and  third 
assistants  John  Gallagher,  Thomas  Dickson,  and  Charles  Coleman. 
The  result  of  the  examination  was  that  Messrs.  Scott  and  Isherwood 
were  reduced  to  second  assistants;  Mr.  Mathews  advanced  to  the 
head  of  the  second  assistants  list;  Mr.  Gallagher  promoted  to 
second  assistant,  and  Messrs.  Dickson  and  Coleman  placed  on  the 
list  of  third  assistants  next  after  Wm.  H.  Shock  and  M.  M.  Thomp- 
son respectively. 

This  whole  proceeding  was  most  radical  and  arbitrary,  and  occa- 
sioned much  heart-burning  among  those  unfortunates  who  lost  grade 
or  numbers  in  the  final  arrangement;  nevertheless,  it  was  demanded 
by  the  lack  of  homogeneity  in  the  corps  which  had  resulted  from  the 
irregular  manner  in  which  the  first  engineers  had  been  appointed, 
and  the  advantages  of  establishing  professional  competency  as  a 
requisite  for  membership  in  the  corps,  and  of  starting  fair,  even 
though  a  trifle  late,  with  the  engineering  personnel  graded  according 
to  merit,  much  more  than  offset  any  grievances  of  individuals  re- 
sulting from  the  rearrangement.  Of  high  professional  ability  and 
broad  general  education  himself,  Mr.  Haswell  felt  that  the  require- 
ment of  similar  ability  from  all  the  members  of  his  corps  was  the 
only  proper  method  of  elevating  its  standard,  and  the  imposition  of 
this  arbitrary  examination  upon  the  junior  engineers  was  the  first 
step  in  that  direction.  That  the  step  was  of  great  subsequent  bene- 
fit to  the  corps  is  manifest,  and  its  inception  indicates  a  degree  of 
corps  pride  and  far-sightedness  on  the  part  of  the  engineer-in-chief 
to  be  admired  and  commended  more  than  any  other  of  his  numerous 
acts  which  operated  to  the  lasting  benefit  of  his  corps.  Moral 
courage  of  a  high  order  was  necessary  to  the  carrying  out  of  this 
reform,  for  it  could  be  of  no  possible  personal  benefit  to  its  pro- 

CHAS.    H.    HASWELI-. 

The  first  engineer  in  the  United  States  Navy  :   appointed  Chief 

Engineer  July  12,  1836.     Engineer-in-chief  of  the  Navy 

from  October  3,  1844,  until  December  1,  1850. 


jector,  and  by  its  character  was  bound  to  make  enemies  for  him 
within  his  own  corps,  where  friends  were  most  needed;  enemies 
who  treasured  up  their  wrongs,  real  or  imaginary,  and  patiently 
waited  for  the  time,  which  eventually  came,  when  they  could  safely 
combine  to  seek  their  revenge. 

Mr.  Haswell's  scheme  for  the  reformation  and  reorganization 
of  his  corps  was  further  perfected  this  same  year  by  the  promulga- 
tion of  a  set  of  regulations  governing  the  admission  and  promotion 
of  members  of  the  engineer  corps.  This  order  was  dated  July  8, 
1845,  and  established  limits  of  age  for  candidates,  made  the  per- 
formance of  a  certain  amount  of  sea  service  in  each  grade  a  re- 
quirement for  promotion,  and  fixed  a  scale  of  mental  requirements 
much  in  advance  of  what  had  been  previously  demanded.  The 
initial  examination  for  admission  as  a  third  assistant  engineer  was 
elementary  compared  with  modern  requirements,  but  the  subsequent 
advances  in  grade  were  guarded  by  examinations  that  increased  in 
difficulty  in  what  may  be  termed  geometrical  progression,  until  the 
candidate  for  promotion  to  the  list  of  chief  engineers  was  required 
to  pass  a  very  exacting  ordeal,  calculated  to  establish  the  possession 
of  much  scientific  and  mechanical  ability. 

Chief  engineers  of  excellent  professional  and  general  informa- 
tion were  habitually  selected  for  the  duty  of  examiners,  and  it  was 
an  established  rule  that  a  failure  to  pass  the  required  examination 
meant  an  end  to  the  naval  career  of  the  delinquent.  This  furnished 
a  strong  incentive  to  the  young  engineers  to  fit  themselves  for  ad- 
vancement, and  almost  immediately  after  the  reorganization  of  the 
corps  a  much  keener  incentive  to  study  and  self  improvement  ap- 
peared in  the  development  of  an  intense  spirit  of  corps  pride  which 
made  the  engineers  quick  to  recognize  their  own  short- comings  and 
to  strive  to  overcome  them.  Opposition  from  within  the  service  to 
the  new  branch  was  the  chief  cause  for  the  early  inception  of  this 
esprit  de  corps,  and,  although  disagreeable  to  those  who  had  to  re- 
sist it,  should  now  be  regarded  as  a  blessing  in  disguise  to  the 
engineers,  for  it  prompted  all  but  the  laggards  not  only  to  overcome 
the  deficiencies  charged  against  them,  but  to  outstrip  their  competit- 
ors in  the  pursuit  of  knowledge. 

The  Naval  Academy  was  opened  the  same  year  that  the  sys- 
tematic reorganization  of  the  engineer  corps  was  effected,  and  as 


soon  as  the  two  systems  were  well  in  operation  the  young  men  of  the 
two  branches  of  the  service  fell  into  an  intellectual  rivalry,  which 
was  good  for  both  classes,  and  especially  for  the  engineers.  The 
result  of  this  feeling  was  frankly  confessed  by  a  distinguished  naval 
captain  some  years  ago,  who,  in  a  discussion  regarding  naval  educa- 
tion, remarked  that  under  the  old  system  a  newly  graduated  mid- 
shipman was  much  better  informed  on  general  subjects  than  was  a 
newly  appointed  third  assistant  engineer,  but  at  the  end  of  the  first 
cruise  the  young  engineer  would  generally  be  found  to  be  much  the 
better  informed  man  of  the  two. 

Immediately  after  being  appointed  engineer-in-chief,  Mr.  Has- 
well  prepared  a  list  of  instructions  for  the  government  of  the 
engineer  department  of  vessels  of  war,  which  instructions  were 
issued  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  in  the  form  of  a  general  order 
to  commanding  officers  under  date  of  February  26,  1845.  This 
order  defined  in  general,  the  duties  and  responsibilities  of  engineers 
afloat,  precautions  to  be  observed  in  the  care  and  preservation  of 
machinery,  etc.,  and  were  so  well  considered  and  prepared  that 
some  of /the  sections  still  remain  in  the  steam  instructions  without 
modification,  except  in  matters  of  detail  demanded  by  the  changes 
in  engineering  practice. 

August  1,  1847,  the  Navy  Department  issued  a  circular  order 
regarding  the  enlistment  of  firemen  and  coal  heavers,  which  directed 
that  no  fireman  should  be  shipped  in  the  future  until  he  had  passed 
a  satisfactory  examination  before  a  board  of  engineers  and  demon- 
strated his  ability  to  manage  fires  properly  with  different  kinds  of 
fuel,  and  to  use  skillfully  smiths'  tools  in  the  repair  of  boilers  and 
machinery.  Two  classes  of  firemen  were  established  by  the  order, 
and  a  regular  system  of  promotion  from  coal  heaver  to  the  two 
grades  of  firemen  was  directed.  First  class  firemen  were  declared 
eligible  for  advancement  to  the  warrant  rank  of  third  assistant  engi- 
neer if  they  could  qualify  before  the  examining  board. 

The  next  year  Congress,  by  an  Act  approved  August  11,  1848, 
extended  the  benefits  of  existing  laws,  respecting  naval  pensions, 
to  the  engineer  corps  and  to  enlisted  men  of  the  engineers'  force, 
the  wording  of  the  act  being  as  follows: 

"Sec.  2.— That  engineers,  firemen,  and  coal  heavers  in  the  navy  shall  be 
entitled  to  pensions  in  the  same  manner  as  officers,  seamen,  and  marines,  and 
the  widows  of  engineers,  firtoen  and  coal  heavers  in  the  same  manner  as  the 


widows  of  officers,  seamen,  and  marines  :  Provided,  That  the  pension  of  a  chief 
engineer  shall  he  the  same  as  that  of  a  lieutenant  in  the  navy,  and  the  pension 
of  the  widow  of  a  chief  engineer  shall  be  the  same  as  that  of  the  widow  of  a 
lieutenant  in  the  navy;  the  pension  of  a  first  assistant  engineer  shall  be  the  same 
as  that  of  a  lieutenant  of  marines,  and  the  pension  of  the  widow  of  a  first  as- 
sistant engineer  shall  be  the  same  as  that  of  the  widow  of  a  lieutenant  of  marines; 
the  pension  of  a  second  or  a  third  assistant  engineer  the  same  as  that  of  a  forward 
officer,  and  the  pension  of  the  widow  of  a  second  or  third  assistant  engineer  the 
same  as  that  of  the  widow  of  a  forward  officer." 

A  new  schedule  of  pay  for  engineer  officers,  by  which  an  in- 
crease for  all  grades  was  effected,  was  created  by  the  following  sec- 
tion from  the  naval  appropriation  bill  approved  March  3,  1849: 

Sec.  6.    And  be  itfwrfher  enacted,  That  the  engineers  in  the  navy  shall 
hereafter  receive  the  following  pay,  viz: 

Chief  engineers  on  duty  first  five  years 81,500 

Chief  engineers  on  duty  after  five  years 2,000 

Chief  engineers  on  leave  firBt  five  years 1.200 

Chief  engineers  on  leave  after  five  years 1,400 

First  assistant  engineers  on  duty 1,000 

First  assistant  engineers  on  leave 850 

Second  assistant  engineers  on  duty 800 

Second  assistant  engineers  on  leave 600 

Third  assistant  engineers  on  duty..,, 600 

Third  assistant  engineers  on  leave 400 

The  engineer  corps  experienced  a  decided  loss  at  this  period  by 
the  resignation  of  the  senior  chief  engineer  in  the  service,  Mr.  John 
Faron,  Jr.,  who  tendered  his  resignation  in  April,  1848,  in  order  to 
accept  the  position  of  {Superintending  Engineer  of  the  newly  estab- 
lished Collins  line  of  transatlantic  mail  steamers.  Mr.  Faron,  it 
will  be  remembered,  was  the  first  assistant  engineer  appointed  to  the 
Fulton  in  1837,  and  became  a  chief  engineer  in  January,  1840.  He 
was  a  thoroughly  capable  and  efficient  marine  engineer,  and  was 
prominently  identified  with  the  designing,  building  and  management 
of  the  early  naval  steamers,  as  well  as  being  a  prominent  factor  as 
a  member  of  the  examining  board,  in  the  work  of  reorganizing  the 
engineer  corps.  His  name  was  continued  on  the  navy  list  by  the 
admission  into  the  corps  of  a  third  assistant  engineer  named  John 
Faron,  a  few  months  after  his  resignation. 


"  I  believe  that  if  the  question  had  been  put  to  Congress  before  the  march 
of  the  armies  and  their  actual  conflict,  not  ten  Votes  could  have  been  obtained  in 
either  house  for  the  war  with  Moxicb  under  the  existing  state  of  things."— 

The  War  With  Mexico — Naval  Operations  in  California — Important  Service  of 
Surgeon  Wm.  Maxwell  Wood— Blockade  of  the  Gulf  Coast — Commodore 
Perry  and  the  Mississippi — Valuable  Professional  Service  of  Engineer-in- 
Chief  Haswell — Bombardment  of  Vera  Cruz — "Alvarado  Hunter" — Steam- 
ers Bought  for  Temporary  Service — Naval  Engineers  Engaged  in  the  Mexi- 
can War— Results  of  the  War. 

THIS  volume  being  devoted  to  the  deeds  of  naval  men,  it  is 
hardly  within  its  province  to  deal  with  the  causes,  or  pretexts, 
which  brought  about  the  war  with  Mexico.  Without  referring  to  the 
political  and  sectional  interests  involved,  it  will  be  sufficient  to  say  in 
regard  to  the  direct  cause  of  the  war  that  the  Mexican  State  of 
Texas,  after  having  achieved  its  independence  after  a  short  but 
exceptionally  cruel  war,  and  after  having  enjoyed  the  dignity  of  a 
sovereign  republic  for  ten  years,  asked  for  admission  into  the  North 
American  Union,  and  was  admitted  late  in  1845,  bringing  with  her 
a  bitter  quarrel  with  her  parent  country  as  to  the  exact  boundary  line 
between  them,  and  a  vast  assortment  of  fierce  and  bloody  border 
feuds  handed  down  from  the  days  of  the  Alamo,  Goliad  and  San 
Jacinto.  The  new  administration,  that  of  President  Polk,  resolved 
to  defend  by  force  if  necessary  the  position  taken  by  the  Texans  in 
regard  to  their  boundary  dispute,  and  within  a  few  months  collisions 
of  troops  in  the  disputed  territory  gave  the  American  Congress  the 
opportunity  of  declaring,  May  11,  1846,  that  "By  the  acts  of  the 
Eepublic  of  Mexico,  a  state  of  war  exists  between  the  United  States 
and  that  Republic. ' ' 

Mexico,  being  miserably  poor,  distracted,  misgoverned,  and 
revolutionary,  had  no  national  navy,  and  the  navy  of  the  United 
States  therefore  was  restricted  to  a  rather  limited  share  in  the  opera- 
tions of  the  war,  being  forced  to  unromantic  blockading  and  trans- 
port duties  along  the  coasts,  and  denied  the  glory  of  battles  at  sea 

THE  gfEAM  VtAYt  OF  fHE  tf  arrfED  SPATES.  & 

for  lack  of  an  enemy  to  meet  on  that  element.  Nevertheless,  BOme 
of  the  ads  of  the  naval  force  were  productive  of  most  important 
and  lasting  results  in  the  prosecution  of  the  -war,  while  the  main- 
tenance of  a  blockade,  imperfect  as  it  was  from  being  held  by  a  fleet 
mainly  composed  01  sailing  ships  on  coasts  famous" for  sudden 
storms,  contributed  greatly  to  hapten  the  end  of  hostilities : 
otherwise  the  war  might  have  been  prolonged  by  the  sending  of  war 
material  and  supplies  into  Mexico  by  other  nations  had  her  ports 
been  left  unguarded. 

One  of  the  very  first  events  of  the  war  was  of  the  greatest  im- 
portance, and  in  all  human  probability  its  result  was  to  give  to  the 
United  States  instead  of  Great  Britain  possession  for  all  time  of 
the  vast  region  then  composing  the  Mexican  territory,  or  province, 
of  California.  The  Mexican  national  debt  was  largely  held  by  Brit- 
ish capitalists,  and  fearing  they  would  never  realize  on  their  invest- 
ments because  of  the  constant  political  turmoil  Of  the  feeble  young 
republic,  had  appealed  to  their  own  government  for  assistance,  which 
was  readily  attempted,  as  the  foreign  policy  of  England  very  proper- 
ly includes  the  protection  of  the  pockets  of  her  subjects  as  well  as 
their  personal  safety.  Through  the  regular  diplomatic  channels 
propositions  were  made  to  Mexico  to  mortgage  California  and  allow 
its  occupation  by  England  until  the  bonds  were  paid:  a  most  astute 
scheme,  and  one  that  would  have  resulted  in  due  time  in  the  British 
government  assuming  the  payment  of  the  debt  to  its  subjects  and 
becoming  the  owner  in  fee  simple  of  the  territory  held  as  security. 
While  negotiations  to  this  end  were  pending,  the  prospect  of  war 
between  the  United  States  and  Mexico  became  threatening,  and  a 
subject  of  great  interest  to  the  British  admiral  in  the  Pacific,  who  is 
believed  to  have  had  instructions  to  seize  upon  California  at  the  first 
news  of  hostilities,  and  thus  insure  his  countrymen  against  financial 

In  the  spring  of  1846  the  American  Pacific  squadron,  composed 
of  sailing  vessels,  was  lying  at  Mazatlan  on  the  west  coast  of  Mexico, 
Commodore  John  D.  Sloat  in  the  frigate  Savannah  being  in  com- 
mand. The  British  admiral,  Seymour,  in  the  Oollvngwood,  was  also 
there,  both  watching  each  other  and  waiting  eagerly  for  news,  which 
came  slowly  in  those  days,  without  railways  and  telegraphs.  It 
often  happens  that  important  events  in  the  history  of  nations  result 


from  the  acts  of  individuals  not  prominently  connected  with  them, 
or  from  obscure  circumstances  of  which  the  public  is  not  cognizant, 
and  one  these  events  was  now  to  come  about.  Surgeon  Wm.  Max- 
well Wood,  of  the  Savannah,  having  been  relieved  by  another  sur- 
geon, left  Mazatlan  April  30  on  his  way  home,  his  plan  being  to 
cross  Mexico  and  take  a  steamer  for  the  United  States  before  war 
began,  if  a  war  was  really  to  result.  He  was  commissioned  by 
Commodore  Sloat  to  convey  important  information  verbally  to  the 
Secretary  of  the  Navy,  the  condition  of  the  country  being  such  that 
it  was  not  deemed  safe  to  trnst  his  despatches  or  letters  to  be  carried 
across  the  country.  Dr.  Wood  spoke  Spanish  fluently,  and  when 
well  started  on  his  journey,  at  Guadalajara,  overheard  a  conversa- 
tion not  intended  for  his  ears  from  which  he  learned  that  hostilities 
had  actually  occurred  on  the  Eio  Grande.  He  was  a  most  phleg- 
matic man,  and  consequently  was  able  to  absorb  the  startling  intelli- 
gence without  any  outward  show  of  interest;  furthermore,  his  man- 
ner and  personal  appearance  were  those  of  a  prosperous  Englishman, 
in  which  character  he  was  traveling,  so  he  was  comparatively  free 
from  suspicion. 

At  the  earliest  possible  moment  Surgeon  Wood  wrote  out  a  de- 
tailed account  of  what  he  had  heard,  and  despatched  it  by  messen- 
ger to  Commodore  Sloat  at  Mazatlan,  this  act  involving  great  per- 
sonal risk,  for  had  the  despatch  been  intercepted  its  author  would 
certainly  have  been  hunted  down  and  treated  as  a  spy.  By  good 
luck  more  than  anything  else  the  letter  reached  Commodore  Sloat 
safely,  and  that  officer  was  not  slow  to  appreciate  the  importance  of 
the  news  and  the  exigency  of  the  occasion.  He  at  once  sent  two  of 
his  vessels — the  Cycme  and  Levant,  names  that  had  before  been  his- 
torically associated — to  the  northward,  and  followed  soon  after  in 
the  Savannah.  Within  a  few  days  the  British  admiral  learned  of 
the  beginning  of  the  war,  and,  surmising  the  mission  of  the  Ameri- 
can squadron,  sailed  at  once  on  the  same  errand;  but  he  was  too 
late.  On  the  7th  of  July  the  American  vessels  took  possession  of 
Monterey,  the  chief  city  of  Upper  California,  and  of  San  Francisco, 
the  best  harbor,  and  that  territory  has  ever  since  remained  a  part  of 
the  American  Kepublic,  thanks  in  the  first  instance  to  Surgeon 
Wood  for  his  quick  perception  of  his  duty  in  the  emergency  in  which 
he  was  accidentally  placed,  and  in  the  second  to  Commodore  Sloat 


for  assuming  the  responsibility  of  seizing  upon  a  vast  territory  -with- 
out orders  and  without  any  assurance  that  his  action  would  be  up- 
held, or  that  a  force  sufficient  to  hold  it  -would  be  supplied. 

That  Commodore  Sloat  acted  wholly  on  his  own  judgment  is 
proved  by  the  fact  that  orders  from  Washington  directing  him  to 
take  possession  of  San  Francisco  Bay  in  the  event  of  war  were  re- 
ceived by  him  long  after  the  act  had  actually  been  performed.  The 
importance  of  Surgeon  Wood's  part  in  the  affair  is  testified  to  by 
Commodore  Sloat,  who,  writing  him  some  years  later  in  relation  to 
the  event,  said :  ' '  The  information  you  furnished  me  at  Mazatlan 
from  Guadalajara  (at  the  risk  of  your  life)  was  the  only  reliable  in- 
formation I  received  of  that  event,  and  which  induced  me  to  pro- 
ceed immediately  to  California,  and  upon  my  own  responsibility  to 
take  posession  of  that  country,  which  I  did  on  the  7th  of  July, 
1846."  Had  California  become  a  British  instead  of  American  pos- 
session, the  subsequent  influence  upon  the  progress  of  the  United 
States,  especially  in  the  ultimate  settlement  of  differences  between 
the  free  and  the  slave  states,  is  a  subject  quite  beyond  the  bounds 
of  any  possible  historical  speculation. 

Commodore  Sloat  was  succeeded  in  command  of  the  Pacific 
squadron  by  Commodore  Stockton  (of  Princeton  fame,)  who,  in  co- 
operation with  a  small  army  under  General  Kearney,  quelled  an 
insurrection  in  the  captured  province  and  held  it  in  hand  until  by 
the  terms  of  the  treaty  of  peace  it  became  definitely  a  possession  of 
the  United  States.  His  vessels  also  maintained  as  good  a  blockade 
of  the  ports  on  the  western  coast  of  Mexico  as  the  nature  of  their 
motive  power  permitted.  The  action  of  Commodore  Sloat  in  seizing 
upon  the  California  coast  was  by  all  odds  the  most  far-reaching  move 
of  the  war,  and  the  credit  for  it  rests  entirely  with  the  navy. 

An  account  of  naval  operations  on  the  gulf  coast  of  Mexico  is 
largely  a  history  of  Captain  M.  C.  Perry  and  his  favorite  war-vessel 
— the  steamer  Mississippi.  Within  a  few  weeks  after  the  beginning 
of  hostilities  on  the  Rio  Grande  a  reasonably  efficient  blockade  of 
the  Mexican  ports  was  established,  although  the  stormy  character  of 
that  coast  made  blockading  a  rather  difficult  matter  with  the  force 
at  hand.  This  squadron,  under  the  command  of  Commodore 
Connor,  consisted  of  the  steamers  Mississippi  and  Princeton,  tne 
frigates  Raritcm  and  Potomac,  several  sloops-of-war,  among  wli«i& 


were  the  ill-fated  Albany  and  Gwnherland,  and  a  number  of  schoon- 
ers, bomb-ketches  and  small  steamers,  the  latter  being  mentioned 
more  particularly  hereafter.  The  principal  military  operation  under- 
taken by  Commodore  Connor  was  an  expedition  against  Alvarado  in 
October,  but  owing  to  the  grounding  of  a  schooner  on  the  bar  and 
signs  of  an  approaching  "norther,"  signal  was  made  to  return  to 
the  station  off  Vera  Cruz,  the  abandonment  of  the  attack  greatly 
displeasing  the  subordinate  officers  and  eventually  proving  some- 
thing of  a  reflection  upon  Commodore  Connor. 

In  August,  Captain  Perry  was  ordered  to  take  two  small  steam- 
ers to  Mexico  and  upon  his  arrival  to  relieve  Captain  Fitzhugh  in 
command  of  the  Mississippi.  The  steamers  were  the  Vixen  and 
Spitfire,  small  side-wheel  vessels  of  about  240  tons  burden,  fitted 
with  horizontal  half-beam  engines.  They  were  twin  vessels  and 
had  been  built  by  Brown  &  Bell  of  New  York  for  the  Mexican 
government,  but  being  unfinished  at  the  time  the  war  began  they 
were  bought  by  the  United  States  from  the  builders  for  about  $50,000 
each.  The  Spitfire  was  sold  at  the  close  of  the  war  and  was  lost  on 
her  first  voyage  as  a  commercial  vessel ;  the  Vixen  was  continued 
in  the  navy  until  1855,  when  she  was  sold.  Captain  Perry 
arrived  on  the  station  with  these  steamers  in  September,  after  which 
there  was  a  practical  division  of  the  squadron,  Commodore  Connor, 
who  does  not  seem  to  have  had  much  faith  in  steamers  as  war 
vessels,  allowing  Perry  to  control  the  steamers  while  he  directed  the 
operations  of  the  sailing  vessels,  although  he  of  course,  as  the  sen- 
ior, officially  commanded  the  whole  squadron. 

At  the  time  of  Commodore  Connor's  demonstration  against 
Alvarado,  Perry  with  the  Mississippi,  Vixen,  and  some  gun-schoon- 
ers, reinforced  by  two  hundred  marines  from  the  sailing  ships,  went 
to  attack  Tobasco  up  the  river  of  the  same  name.  Frontera,  at  the 
mouth  of  the  river,  was  taken  without  resistance  on  October  23,  a 
river  steamer  named  Petrita  which  was  afterward  of  great  use  being 
taken  at  this  time.  On  the  26th  Tobasco  was  captured  after  a 
smart  fight,  but  the  enemy,  after  having  surrendered,  attacked  the 
naval  force  unexpectedly  and  this  act  obliged  Perry  to  bombard  the 
town,  doing  it  a  great  deal  of  damage  and  completely  subduing  the 
war  spirit  of  the  Mexicans,  the  Vixen  taking  a  prominent  part  in  the 
cannonading.     Not  having  a  force  with  which  to  occupy  the  town, 


IPerry  took  away  the  small  vessels  he  had  captured  and  returned  to 
rejoin  the  fleet.  One  of  the  vessels  taken  at  Tobasco  was  a  steamer 
named  the  Cka/mpion,  formerly  employed  on  the  James  River  in 
Virginia,  which  as  a  despatch  boat  became  afterward  most  useful  to 
the  American  squadron.  Although  the  captured  city  was  not 
occupied,  the  expedition  against  it  was  not  without  value,  for  it 
infused  new  life  into  the  men  who  were  growing  discontented  under 
the  monotony  of  looking  at  the  enemy's  shores  from  a  distance. 

About  the  middle  of  November  both  Connor  and  Perry  went  to 
attack  Tampico,  about  two  hundred  miles  north  of  "Vera  Cruz,  and 
gained  possession  of  that  place  without  firing  a  shot,  the  appearance 
of  the  squadron  off  the  bar  being  the  signal  for  surrender.  It  being 
desirable  for  military  reasons  to  retain  this  place,  Perry  with  his 
ever-ready  Mississippi  was  sent  to  Matamoras  near  the  mouth  of  the 
Bio  Grande  to  oommunicate  with  the  army  authorities  and  ask  that 
troops  be  sent.  After  doing  this  he  went  on  his  own  responsibility 
to  New  Orleans,  where  he  obtained  from  the  governor  of  Louisiana 
a  battery  of  field  guns  and  a  quantity  of  shovels,  picks,  wheel- 
barrows, etc. ,  much  needed  for  entrenching  purposes.  Keturning, 
lie  arrived  at  Tampico  after  just  one  week's  absence,  his  quick  trip 
amazing  the  old  seamen  in  the  fleet  who  were  almost  persuaded  into 
the  belief  that  a  steamer  might  after  all  be  good  for  something. 

By  the  end  of  the  year  constant  service  under  steam  began  to 
tell  on  the  Mississippi,  repairs  being  so  urgently  needed  that  early 
an  January,  1847,  Perry  proceeded  in  her  to  Norfolk,  where  he 
turned  her  over  to  the  navy  yard  authorities,  going  himself  to  Wash- 
ington to  consult  with  the  Navy  Department  officials  relative  to  the 
conduct  of  the  war.  A  board  of  survey  reported  that  it  would 
require  six  weeks  to  fit  the  Mississippi  for  service,  which  was  very 
discouraging  news  to  Perry  who  felt  that  important  events  were 
impending  in  Mexico  and  who  had  his  own  reasons  for  wishing  to 
be  present  during  their  occurrence.  In  this  emergency  he  fell  back 
on  his  old  friend  Haswell,  the  engineer-in-chief,  knowing  that  if 
anyone  could  help  him  out  Haswell  was  the  man.  The  engineer-in- 
chief  went  to  Norfolk  and,  after  a  critical  examination  of  the  ship, 
declared  that  she  could  be  made  ready  in  two  weeks  by  working 
night  and  day,  and  this  feat  was  actually  accomplished  under  his 
personal  direction.      "We  may  safely  add  that,  by  his  energy,  and 


ability  in  getting  the  Mississippi  ready  at  this  time,  Mr.  Has- 
well  saved  the  government  many  thousands  of  dollars  and  contri- 
buted largely  to  the  triumphs  of  a  quick  war  which  brought  early 
peace."  * 

Commodore  Perry's  familiarity  with  steam  vessels  was  utilized 
during  his  enforced  stay  in  the  United  States  at  this  time  by  putting 
him  in  charge  of  the  fitting  out  of  a  flotilla  of  lightdraft  vessels  for 
service  in  Mexico.  These  were  the  steamers  Seowrge  and  Scorpion, 
and  a  number  of  bomb-ketches  with  imported  volcanic  names — 
Vesuvius,  Stromboli,  and  the  like — intended  to  be  towed  by  the 
steamers.  The  Seowrge  was  a  small  vessel  of  230  tons  burden,  pur- 
chased in  New  York  for  $44,825  ;  she  was  fitted  with  two  of  the 
Loper  flat-bladed  propellers,  and  was  sold  at  New  Orleans  at  the 
close  of  the  war.  The  Scorpion  was  a  paddle-wheel  steamer  of  340 
tons  burden,  bought  in  New  York  for  $80,505,  and  sold  in  1848 
for  $14,500.  Although  not  a  part  of  this  flotilla,  two  other  steam- 
ers added  to  the  naval  establishment  for  Mexican  War  service  may 
properly  be  mentioned  here.  These  were  the  Iris,  a  paddle-wheel 
vessel  of  388  tons  burden,  fitted  with  a  steeple  engine,  bought  in 
New  York  in  1847  for  $35,991  and  sold  in  Norfolk  in  1849  for 
about  one-fourth  that  amount,  and  the  Polk,  a  revenue  cutter  very 
similar  to  the  Scorpion ;  the  Polk  was  transferred  to  the  Navy 
Department  is  1846,  but  was  found  unseaworthy  and  defective  in 
machinery,  having  broken  down  on  an  attempted  voyage  to  the 
Gulf,  in  consequence  of  which  she  was  returned  to  the  Treasury 

Perry  returned  to  Vera  Cruz  with  the  Mississippi  early  in 
March,  carrying  with  him  orders  to  relieve  Commodore  Connor  and 
take  command  of  the  American  fleet,  which  he  did  March  21,  1847, 
and  immediately  thereafter  a  vigorous  and  aggressive  policy  was  in- 
augurated. General  Winfield  Scott's  army  had  already  landed  and 
begun  the  siege  of  Vera  Craz,  but  found  itself  without  ordnance 
heavy  enough  to  make  much  impression  upon  the  city  walls.  To 
General  Scott's  request  for  the  loan  of  heavy  guns  from  the  fleet, 
Perry  refused,  unless  his  own  men  might  go  with  their  guns,  a  con- 
dition that  Scott  first  declined,  but  when  he  fully  realized  that  his 

1  William  E.  Griffls  ;  "Biography  of  Matthew  Calbraith  Perry  ; "  p.  211. 


own  batteries  could  not  breach  the  walls  he  accepted  it,  and  a  heavy 
battery  of  six  guns  with  ship's  mounts  and  picked  crews  was  at  once 
landed  and  laboriously  dragged  through  the  sand  in  the  night-time 
Borne  three  miles  to  the  spot  where  it  was  to  be  located  for  most 
effective  use.  The  earthwork  defenses  for  this  battery  were  laid 
out  by  an  engineer  of  General  Scott's  staff — Captain  EobertE.  Lee. 
It  may  be  interesting  to  mention  that  in  the  army  before  Vera  Cruz 
at  this  time,  gaining  experience  for  a  far  greater  war,  were  the  fol- 
lowing named  young  officers:  First  Lieutenants  James  Longstreet, 
P.  G.  T.  Beauregard,  John  Sedgwick,  and  Earl  Van  Dorn,  and 
Second  Lieutenants  U.  S.  Grant,  George  B.  McClellan,  Fitz  John 
Porter,  W".  S.  Hancock,  and  Thomas  J.  (Stonewall)  Jackson. 

After  the  installation  of  the  naval  battery  the  cannonading  be- 
came more  deadly  and  furious,  resulting  in  the  surrender  four  days 
later  of  the  beleagured  city.  The  details  of  this  exploit  are  not  es- 
pecially pleasant  for  the  American  historian  to  dwell  upon.  The 
Mexican  general,  Morales,  had  declined  General  Scott's  summons 
to  surrender  and  had  not  availed  himself  of  the  privilege  offered  to 
remove  the  inhabitants  of  the  city  before  the  bombardment  began. 
The  fire  of  the  heavy  naval  guns  was  directed  successfully  to  the 
breaching  of  the  wall,  but  the  army  guns  and  mortars  kept  up  an 
incessant  storm  of  shot,  shell  and  bombs,  rained  over  the  walls  into 
the  city.  Ages  ago  Cicero  established  the  maxim  that  "Laws  are 
silent  in  war,"  and  the  truth  of  this  was  well  illustrated  by  the 
tragedy  of  Vera  Cruz.  Whole  families  were  destroyed  in  the  ruins 
of  their  shattered  homes;  women  and  children  praying  in  an  agony 
of  fear  before  the  altars  of  their  churches  were  torn  and  mangled 
by  bombs  and  shells  crushing  through  the  roofs;  even  the  sepul- 
chres of  the  dead  were  torn  to  pieces  and  the  corpses  scattered  about 
the  streets.  The  damage  done  to  combatants  was  small  compared 
with  the  horrors  inflicted  upon  the  wretched  populace. 

An  exhibition  of  bravado  in  the  fleet  was  the  only  touch  of 
comedy  connected  with  the  bombardment  of  Vera  Cruz.  The 
famous  stone  castle  of  San  Juan  d'Ulloa,  built  by  the  Spaniards  in 
the  16th  century  at  a  cost  of  forty  million  dollars,  stands  in  the 
harbor  about  a  mile  in  front  of  the  city,  and  its  fire  soon  proved  a 
serious  annoyance  to  some  of  the  investing  batteries,  the  exact  range 
of  which  had  been  ascertained  by  repeated  firing.     To  divert  this 


fire,  Perry  ordered  Commander  Tatnall  in  the  steamer  Spitfire  to 
approach  and  open  fire  on  the  castle.  Tatnall,  always  disputatious, 
asked  for  specific  directions  as  to  what  point  he  should  attack,  to 
which  ' '  Ursa  Major, ' '  as  Perry  was  known  behind  his  back,  replied 
not  too  gently,  "Where  you  can  do  the  most  execution,  sir!" 
With  this  flea  in  his  ear  Tatnall  proceeded  with  the  Spitfire,  in 
company  with  the  Yi/ssen,  Commander  Joshua  R.  Sands,  to  within  a 
stone's  throw  of  the  castle  and  opened  furiously  against  its  massive 
walls.  This  close  proximity  probably  saved  the  two  little  steamers, 
for  they  were  untouched,  although  the  men  on  board  were  thoroughly 
drenched  with  the  water  splashed  over  them  by  the  storm  of 
cannon  balls.  The  spectacle  was  exciting  to  the  crews  of  the 
on-looking  ships,  and  ludicrous  as  well  on  account  of  its  futility. 
Perry,  both  amused  and  provoked  at  the  exhibition  of  temper  on 
the  part  of  his  subordinate,  made  signal  for  the  steamers  to  with- 
draw, but  Tatnall  failed  to  see  any  signals,  assuring  the  officer  who 
reported  them  that  he  was  mistaken  and  was  looking  the  wrong  way. 
It  finally  became  necessary  to  endanger  a  boat's  crew  by  sending  it 
to  call  him  back,  Mr.  Wm.  H.  Shock,  who  was  the  engineer  in 
charge  of  the  machinery  of  the  Spitfire  on  this  occasion,  has  stated 
in  a  magazine  article  that  when  the  vessels  went  out  of  action  he 
heard  Tatnall  say  in  tones  of  regret,  "Not  a  man  wounded  or 

After  the  fall  of  Vera  Cruz,  a  combined  army  and  naval  expe- 
dition was  planned  against  Alvarado,  the  place  that  had  previously 
been  proceeded  against  without  results  by  Commodore  Connor.  The 
chief  object  in  gaining  this  town  was  to  supply  Scott's  army  with 
animals  for  transportation  in  his  projected  invasion  of  Mexico, 
horses  being  abundant  in  the  Alvarado  neighborhood.  General 
Quitman  with  a  considerable  force  of  artillery,  cavalry  and  infan- 
try, started  overland,  while  Perry  organized  an  expedition  with 
small  steamers  manned  by  picked  men  from  the  fleet  to  proceed 
against  the  place  by  water.  Lieutenant  Charles  GL  Hunter  in  the 
SGourge  was  directed  to  blockade  the  threatened  town  and  report 
the  movements  of  the  enemy  to  Captain  Breese  of  the  sloop-of-war 
Albany.  This  young  officer,  observing  signs  of  the  enemf  aban- 
doning the  town,  landed  some  men  and  took  possession  of  it,  a  very 
presumptuous  act  when  a  general  and  a  commodore  had  designs 


upon  the  position  and  the  honor  of  capturing  it.  Hunter  was 
promptly  arrested  by  order  of  Commodore  Perry,  tried  by  court- 
martial  for  disobedience  of  orders,  and  sent  home  in  disgrace.  In 
the  United  States  he  was  given  many  dinners  and  receptions,  and  as 
"Alvarado  Hunter"  was  the  hero  of  the  hour,  while  Perry  was 
made  the  target  for  a  multitude  of  newspaper  attacks.  All  of  which 
was  natural  enough  on  the  part  of  the  public,  which  saw  nothing  in 
the  affair  except  the  capture  of  a  town  without  regard  for  the  rank 
of  the  captor.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  by  exceeding  his  authority 
Hunter  completely  defeated  the  real  object  of  the  expedition;  his 
act  forewarned  the  Mexicans  and  gave  them  ample  time  to  remove 
with  their  horses  and  portable  property  before  the  army  forces  had 
hemmed  them  in. 

The  next  naval  operation  of  consequence  in  this  war  was  Perry's 
capture  in  June  of  the  city  of  Tobasco,  after  severe  fighting.  This 
is  an  important  event  in  our  naval  history,  as  it  is  the  first  occasion 
on  which  a  large  force  of  blue-jackets  was  regularly  organized  into  a 
naval  brigade  for  prolonged  military  operations  on  shore,  which  was 
done  under  the  personal  direction  and  command  of  Commodore 
Perry.  The  necessity  for  this  proceeding  was  brought  about  by 
the  circumstance  that  the  marines  of  the  fleet  had  been  formed  into 
a  regiment  and  sent  with  Scott's  army  on  the  march  to  the  city  of 
Mexico.  The  year  before,  Commodore  Stockton  had  used  his  sailors 
to  some  extent  for  guard  and  garrison  duty  in  California,  but  the 
credit  for  the  first  real  naval  brigade  is  given  to  Perry  by  the  his- 
torians of  our  navy.  The  small  steamers  of  the  fleet  were  invalu- 
able in  the  capture  of  Tobasco;  in  fact,  without  them  the  expedition 
would  hardly  have  been  practicable.  Commodore  Perry  so  fully 
appreciated  the  value  of  this  type  of  vessel  that  he  repeatedly  asked 
for  more  light-draft  steamers  from  home,  and  eventually  so  pro- 
voked the  conservative  old  officers  about  the  Navy  Department  that 
he  got  a  stiff  reprimand  from  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  for  his  per- 
sistence in  this  regard. 

To  First  Assistant  Engineer  George  Sewall  is  due  credit  for 
having  repaired  in  a  most  ingenious  manner  without  any  convenient 
appliances  the  two  steamers  Vixen  and  Spitfire,  which  had  become 
unseaworthy  and  unfit  for  use  owing  to  leaky  Kingston  valve  con- 
nections, thus  giving  to  the  Government  two  steamers  for  war 


Yellow  fever  broke  out  in  July  on  the  Mississippi,  and  that  in- 
valuable ship  eventually  had  to  be  sent  off  the  station,  going  to 
Pensacola  with  about  two  hundred  invalids  on  board.  A  short  time 
before  the  appearance  of  this  pestilence  a  fire  from  spontaneous 
combustion  had  gained  such  headway  in  the  Mississippi's  coal 
bunkers  that  it  was  only  extinguished  by  flooding  the  bunkers,  and 
it  was  believed  that  the  moisture  remaining  in  the  nooks  and  corners 
of  the  ship  after  this  accident  gave  a  foothold  for  the  disease.  Two 
of  the  Mississippi's  engineers — First  Assistant  Charles  A.  Mapes, 
and  Third  Assistant  Emerson  G.  Covel — died  on  board  their  ship 
of  this  epidemic  and  were  buried  in  the  soil  of  Mexico. 

General  Scott  entered  the  city  of  Mexico  on  the  17th  of  Sep- 
tember, 1847,  and  that  practically  ended  the  war,  although  the 
naval  force  continued  the  blockade  of  the  coast  until  the  treaty  of 
peace  was  signed  the  following  February.  Then  the  vessels  were 
gradually  withdrawn,  the  larger  ones  to  other  stations  and  the  small 
purchased  steamers  were  sold  for  what  they  would  bring.  The  most 
beneficial  lesson  to  the  navy  derived  from  this  war  was  that  steamers 
were  vastly  superior  to  sailing  vessels  for  war  purposes,  and  the 
prejudice  against  the  new  motor  were  so  broken  down  that  naval 
opposition  to  the  policy  of  building  war  steamers  was  ma- 
terially diminished  thereafter,  although  not  wholly  extinguished. 
The  demonstrated  value  of  the  small  steamers  for  river  and  harbor 
operations  had  quite  as  much  to  do  with  bringing  about  this  change 
of  sentiment  as  had  the  general  utility  exhibited  by  the  Princeton 
and  Mississippi. 

With  the  return  of  peace,  the  steam  navy  was  augmented  by  the 
transfer  from  the  War  Department  of  two  steamers  which  had  been 
used  for  troop-ships.  The  larger  of  these  was  the  Massachusetts,  a 
full-rigged  ship  of  750  tons  burden  with  auxiliary  steam  power, 
which  had  been  bought  in  1847  for  $80,000.  This  ship  had  been 
the  pioneer  in  a  line  of  auxiliary  steam  packets  employed  in  the  New 
York  and  Liverpool  trade,  and  was  fitted  with  two  small  engines  of 
Ericsson's  design,  driving  an  Ericsson  screw  only  9£  feet  in 
diameter,  the  screw  being  attached  to  the  shaft  by  a  coupling  that 
could  be  disengaged  and  the  screw  hoisted  on  deck  in  a  few  min- 
utes. The  propeller  shaft  passed  out  of  the  stern  at  the  side  of  the 
stern  post,  to  which  was  bolted  the  stern  bearing  of  the  shaft,  the 


latter  projecting  far  enough  to  allow  the  screw  to  operate  abaft  the 
rudder.  The  rudder  had  a  slot,  or  "  shark's  mouth  "  cut  in  it  to 
prevent  its  striking  the  projecting  shaft  when  put  hard  over.  Both 
the  stern  bearing  attached  to  the  post  and  the  cut  in  the  rudder  were 
features  patented  by  John  Ericsson.  The  Massachusetts  was  some 
years  afterward  converted  into  a  bark-rigged  sailing  vessel,  and 
under  the  name  of  FarraUones  remained  in  the  naval  service  until 
after  the  Civil  War,  when  she  was  sold. 

The  other  transferred  transport  was  the  auxiliary  steam  bark 
Edith,  of  400  tons  burden,  which  had  Ericsson  machinery  of  the 
same  type  as  that  described  in  the  case  of  the  Massachusetts,  She 
had  been  in  the  East  India  trade  and  was  on  record  as  having  made 
the  quickest  voyage  then  known  between  Calcutta  and  Canton. 
After  being  fitted  for  war  purposes  the  Edith  was  sent  on  a  cruise 
to  the  Pacific  station,  where,  in  1850,  she  was  run  ashore  and 
wrecked,  but  without  loss  of  life. 

The  following  list  of  engineers  of  the  navy  who  served  on 
vessels  actively  employed  in  the  Mexican  War  is  made  up  from  a 
list  given  in  General  C.  M.  Wilcox's  History  of  the  Mexican  War: 

Chief  Engineer  John  Faron,  Jr. 

"  "        D.  B.  Martin. 

"  "         William  Sewell. 

First  Assistant  Engineer  Saml.  Archbold. 

((              (( 


L.  S.  Bartholomew. 

11                  u 


E.  G.  Covel. 

11              (« 



T.  H.  Faron. 

11              11 


Jesse  Gay. 

II                  u 


J.  K.  Matthews. 

ti                u 


Hiram  Sanford. 

11                   it 


George  Sewell. 

Second  Assistant  Engineer  James  Atkinson. 




N.  C.  Davis. 




Joshua  Follansbee. 




John  Gallagher. 




A.  P.  How. 

■  1 


k  1 

B.  F.  Isherwood. 



1 1 

R.  M.  Johnson. 



Second  Assistant  Engineer,  J.  M.  Middleton. 
"  "  "         A.  S.  Palmer. 

"  "  "         Theodore  Zeller. 

Third  Assistant  Engineer  J.  M.  Adams. 

Lafayette  Caldwell. 
"         John  Carroll. 
"         Charles  Coleman. 
"         Wm.  E.  Everett. 
"•         Edward  Faron. 

B.  F.  Garvin. 

J.  E.  Hatcher. 

J.  W.  King. 
"         William  Luce. 
"         Charles  A.  Mapes. 
"         J.  W.  Parks. 

W.  H.  Shock. 

William  Taggart. 

J.  C.  Tennent. 
"         M.  M.  Thompson. 
"         J.  A.  Van  Zandt. 
11         Wm.  C.  Wheeler. 
'*         Edward  Whipple. 


The  material  benefits  to  the  United  States  resulting  from  the 
Mexican  War  were  enormous,-  and  entirely  out  of  proportion  to  the 
outlay  of  life  and  treasure  involved,  notwithstanding  it  is  difficult  at 
this  distance  in  time  for  one  to  grow  enthusiastic  over  the  events  of 
that  unequal  struggle.  Desperate  battles  were  fought;  many  note- 
worthy deeds  of  valor  wore  performed,  and  both  army  and  navy 
achieved  that  peculiar  distinction  called  glory,  but  to  the  American 
student  of  his  country's  history  the  fact  that  the  military  power  of 
our  great  republic  was  ruthlessly  used  to  overwhelm  with  woe  and 
desolation  a  small  sister  republic  struggling  to  maintain  self-govern- 
ment on  the  democratic  principles  professed  by  the  nation  which  in- 
flicted upon  her  the  horrors  of  war,  must  ever  remain  prominent. 
The  cause  of  freedom  had  then  enough  to  contend  with,  without  th»» 
greatest  nation  governed  by  its  own  people  tearing  to  pieces  a  fee- 
ble follower  of  its  institutions. 


The  territory  of  the  United  States  was  increased  one-third  by 
the  terms  of  the  treaty  'which  concluded  the  war,  and  a  vast  extent  of 
sea  coast  on  the  Pacific  Ocean  was  gained.  The  benefits  to  our 
country  and  to  the  world  in  general,  resulting  from  this  transfer  of 
territory  cannot  be  over-estimated,  and  this,  as  a  manifestation  of 
Providence  forwarding  the  destiny  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  race,  must 
be  our  chief  apology  for  the  manner  in  which  that  vast  region 
changed  hands.  California  under  Mexican  rule  gave  little  promise 
for  the  future,  but  in  the  hands  of  the  energetic  and  investigating 
American  became  almost  in  a  day  both  famous  and  wealthy.  It 
had  long  been  known  to  the  Mexicans  of  California  that  their  rivers 
ran  over  golden  sands,  but  the  indolent  and  ease-loving  people  pre- 
ferred the  shade  of  their  haciendas  to  the  labor  of  exploring  the 
mountains;  manana  or  "  the  day  after,"  would  be  ample  time  in  which 
to  investigate,  and  thus  the  great  discovery  bade  fair  to  be  neglect- 
ed for  an  indefinite  time. 

The  prying  American  lost  no  time  in  exploring  his  new  posess- 
ions  and  within  a  year  had  proclaimed  such  wonderful  discoveries 
that  ships  freighted  with  tools  and  men  were  converging  upon  the 
Golden  Gate  from  every  quarter  of  the  globe ;  steamship  lines 
before  impossible,  were  established,  and  the  transcontinental  rail- 
ways, which  have  hastened  the  development  of  the  North  American 
continent  and  the  civilization  of  the  Far  East  at  least  a  century, 
were  projected.  It  is  a  favorite  statement  of  historians  that  the  amount 
of  gold  produced  by  California  since  1848  exceeds  in  value  the 
enormous  national  debt  incurred  by  the  United  States  in  the  war 
for  the  preservation  of  the  Union.  ^  Granting  this  to  be  true,  and 
admitting  that  the  mineral  wealth  of  the  territory  acquired  from 
Mexico  is  yet  beyond  computation,  the  greater  truth  remains  that  all 
this  is  actually  secondary  in  value  to  the  wonderful  agricultural 
resources  of  the  same  region.  But  for  the  aggressive  and  perhaps 
undemocratic  policy  which  led  the  United  States  to  despoil  a 
neighbor  whose  form  of  government  should  have  been  her  defense, 
California,  with  sources  of  wealth  far  greater  than  those  possessed 
by  more  than  one  empire  which  has  ruled  the  world,  might  yet  be 
the  hunting  ground  of  hungry  savages,  her  fields  untilled,  her 
orchards  unplanted,  and  the  treasure  of  her  streams  and  mountain 
ledges  still  undisturbed  save  by  the  hoof  of  the  antelope  and  the 
paw  of  the  bear. 


"The  wheel  of  fortune  turns  incessantly  round,  and  who  can  say  within 
himself,  '  I  shall  to-day  be  uppermost.'  " — Confucius. 

New  steamers  authorized  for  the  navy  in  1847— The  Susquehanna,  Powhatan, 
Sakanac,  and  San  Jacinto— Mr.  Haswell  Succeeded  as  Engineer-in-Chief 
by  Charles  B.  Stuart— Circumstances  Connected  with  Mr.  Haswell  Leav- 
ing the  Navy— His  Great  Services  to  the  Naval  Engineer  Corps— His  Subse- 
quent Career. 

STEAM,  as  we  have  seen,  did  not  play  an  important  part  in  the 
naval  operations  of  the  Mexican  war,  but  the  numerous  oppor- 
tunities and  advantages  lost  or  not  used  simply  for  lack  of 
motive  power  more  reliable  than  the  winds,  served  as  excellent  ob- 
ject lessons  to  direct  naval  and  public  attention  to  the  necessity  of 
having  a  fleet  of  steam  war  vessels  if  the  navy  were  to  be  thereafter 
a  useful  military  arm.  In  the  report  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy 
for  the  year  1846  a  policy  of  building  war-steamers  was  urged,  and 
in  December  of  that  year  Mr.  Fairfield,  Chairman  of  the  Senate 
Committee  on  Naval  Affairs,  asked  the  Department  by  letter  for  a 
statement  as  to  the  size,  type,  cost,  &c,  of  the  vessels  desired.  The 
reply  was  to  the  effect  that  at  least  four  steamers,  at  an  average 
cost  of  $500,000  each  should  be  immediately  undertaken,  and  the 
authority  asked  for  was  conferred  by  the  naval  appropriation  bill 
then  under  consideration,  which  was  approved  March  3,  1847.  The 
same  act  directed  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  enter  into  contract 
with  E.  K.  Collins  and  his  associates  for  the  transportation  of  the 
United  States  mails  between  New  York  and  Liverpool;  with  A.  G. 
Sloo  for  the  transportation  of  the  mails  between  New  York  and 
New  Orleans,  touching  at  Havana,  and  with  some  other  agent,  not 
named,  for  the  transportation  of  the  mails  from  Panama  to  Oregon 
Territory.  In  the  first  two  cases,  the  steamers  of  the  contractors 
were  to  be  built  under  the  supervision  of  a  naval  constructor  and 
were  to  be  adapted  to  use  as  war  vessels,  the  contractors  being  also 
required  by  the  terms  of  the  act  to  receive  on  board  each  of  their 
steamers  four  passed  midshipmen  of  the  navy  to  act  as  watch  offi- 


Mr.  John  T.  Mason,  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  on  March  22, 
1847,  ordered  a  board,  consisting  of  Commodores  Morris,  Warring- 
ton and  Smith,  Engineer-in-Chief  Haswell,  Naval  Constructors 
Grice,  Lenthall  and  Hartt,  and  Mr.  Charles  W.  Copeland,  the  emi- 
nent civilian  engineer  employed  by  the  Navy  Department,  to  assem- 
ble in  Washington  and  determine  upon  the  various  features  of  the  pro- 
posed vessels,  the  order  stating  in  general  terms  some  of  the  require- 
ments to  be  observed,  and  directing  that  one  of  the  vessels  "  should 
be  propelled  by  some  of  the  various  screw  propellers."  Later, 
Commodore  Skinner  and  Chief  Engineer  John  Faron,  Jr.  were  ad- 
ded to  the  board,  which  met  at  frequent  dates  from  March  23  until 
July  3,  1847,  on  which  latter  date  its  final  report  and  recommenda- 
tions were  submitted  to  the  Department.  So  many  interesting 
points  arose  later  about  the  ships  recommended  by  this  board,  and 
such  a  bitter  controversy  grew  out  iof  alleged  defects  in  the  design 
of  at  least  one  of  them  that  the  matter  eventually  became  the  subject 
of  congressional  inquiry,  and  its  history  in  detail  thus  got  into  print 
in  the  form  of  a  public  document — Executive  Document  65  f  House 
of  Kepresentatives,  Thirty-third  Congress;  First  Session:  this  docu- 
ment the  author  has  been  fortunate  enough  to  discover  in  that  vast 
mine  of  information  almost  inaccessibly  buried  in  the  crypt  of  the 
Capitol,  and  from  it  the  principal  facts  presented  in  this  chapter  are 

The  proceedings  of  the  board  indicate  that  the  Mississippi  was 
regarded  as  a  model  from  which  to  copy  as  much  as  possible.  With- 
out going  into  all  the  differences  "of  .opinion,  lengthy  debates,  and 
yea  and  nay  votes  indulged  in  by  the  commodores,  constructors 
and  engineers  of  the  board,  it  is  sufficient  to  say  the  resultant 
recommendations  were  the  building  of  two  large  side- wheel  steamers, 
similar  to  the  Mississippi,  but  sufficiently  large  to  carry  coal,  provi- 
sions, &c,  for  long  voyages  to  foreign  stations,  and  two  smaller 
steamers,  of  about  2, 100  tons  displacement,  one  of  the  latter,  to  be 
fitted  with  a  screw  propeller.  Wood  was  designated  as  the  material 
from  which  these  vessels  were  to  be  built,  the  vote  of  the  Board 
showing  that  Mr.  Haswell  was  the  only  member  who  favored  iron 
as  building  material  for  even  one  of  them.  The  board  also  decided 
that  Naval  Constructors  Grice  and  Lenthall  should  each  design  the 
hull  of  one  of  the  larger  steamers  and  that  Mr.  Hartt  should  design 


both  of  the  smaller  ones,  Messrs.  Haswell  and  Copeland  each  to  de- 
sign machinery  for  one  large  and  one  small  vessel.  All  these  rec- 
ommendations were  approved  bf  the  Navy  Department,  and  on  the 
13th  of  July,  1847,  the  Secretary  promulgated  the  President's  order 
that  the  two  large  ships  be  built  at  Philadelphia  and  Norfolk  respec- 
tively, and  the  smaller  ones  at  Kittery  and  New  York. 

The  large  steamer  designed  by  Mr.  Lenthall  was  named  Sus- 
queJtanna,  and  was  built  in  the  navy  yard  at  Philadelphia,  where  she 
was  launched  in  April,  1850,  and  was  entirely  completed  with  ma- 
chinery ready  for  service  at  the  end  of  that  year.  She  was  bark- 
rigged,  250  feet  long,  45  feet  beam  and  displaced  3,824  tons  at 
her  load  draft  of  19£  feet.  The  engines,  designed  by  Charles  W. 
Copeland,  were  built  by  Murray  &  Hazelhurst  of  Baltimore,  under 
the  supervision  of  Chief  Engineer  Wm.  P.  Williamson,  U.  S.  Navy, 
and  consisted  of  two  inclined  direct-acting  condensing  engines,  With 
cylinders  70  inches  in  diameter  and  10  feet  stroke,  fitted  with 
inclined  air  pumps.  The  paddle  wheels  were  of  the  ordinary  radial 
type,  31  feet  in  diameter.  There  were  four  copper  boilers 
of  the  double  return,  ascending  flue  type,  containing  342  square 
feet  of  grate  surface  and  8,652  square  feet  of  heating  surface. 

In  June,  1851,  the  Susquehantta  sailed  for  the  Asiatic  station, 
then  known  as  the  East  India  Station,  her  first  commander  being 
Captain  J.  H.  Aulick  and  her  chief  engineer  Mr.  Samuel  Archboid. 
On  the  passage  to  Rio  de  Janeiro  some  defects  or  injuries  to  her 
engines  and  spars  were  discovered,  resulting  in  a  delay  of  some  two 
months  at  the  Brazilian  capital,  during  which  time  repairs  to  the  ex- 
tent of  about  $3,500  were  made  at  the  marine  arsenal,  mostly 
to  the  air  pumps  and  paddle-wheels.  Her  performance  thereafter 
was  excellent,  and  most  creditable  «to  her  engineers,  as  may  be  seen 
from  the  following  report  of  the  commanding  officer,  which  report 
is  of  special  interest  in  these  days  when  we  rather  pride  ourselves 
on  our  ability  to  crosB  wide  seas  under  steam  without  an  extravagant 
use  of  fuel,  showing  that  the  men  of  a  previous  generation  were  not 
wholly  ignorant  of  the  same  desirable  experience: 

U,  S.  Steam  Fmgate  Susquehanna, 
Tabus  Bay,  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  October  17, 1851. 

Bra:  I  have  the  honor  to  report  our  arrival  here  on  th6  15th 
jostant,  eighteen  days  from  Bio  de  Janeiro. 


This  passage  has  thoroughly  and  severely  tested  the  strength 
of  our  masts  and  engines.  The  weather  for  the  greater  part  of  the 
time  was  very  stormy,  and  the  sea  higher  than  I  have  ever  known 
it  before,  causing  the  ship  to  roll  and  plunge  to  such  a  degree  that 
frequently  one  wheel  was  eight  or  ten  feet  entirely  clear  of  the  sea, 
when  the  other  was  full  half  its  diameter  buried  in  it;  but  nothing 
of  any  importance  gave  way,  and  the  engines  were  never  stopped 
from  the  time  we  weighed  our  anchor  in  "Rio;"  until  it  was  let  go 
in  this  bay.  I,  however,  did  not  neglect  to  use  our  sails  and  econ- 
omize fuel;  when  the  wind  was  fair,  and  the  weather  permitted, 
we  used  only  two  boilers,  and  with  a  daily  expenditure  of  less  than 
fourteen  tons  of  coal,  keeping  up  only  sufficient  steam  to  turn  our 
wheels,  we  averaged  for  a  number  of  days  more  than  two  hundred 
miles  in  the  twenty-four  hours.  I  adopted  this  course  in  preference 
to  taking  off  the  floats,  for  the  reason  that  it  is  very  difficult,  if  not 
impossible,  to  un-ship  and  re-ship  them  in  a  heavy  seaway.  We  ex- 
pended on  the  passage  only  about  half  the  coal  with  which  we  left 
"Rio."  I  am,  &c, 

J.  H.  Auliok, 
Commanding  Squadron,  East  Indies  and  China. 
Hon.  William  A.  Geaham,  Secretary  of  the  Navy, 
Washington,  D.  C. 

The  Susquehanna  continued  an  efficient  cruising  steamer  for 
many  years,  and  was  a  prominent  ship  during  the  war  of  the  rebel- 
lion; a  few  years  after  its  close  her  machinery  was  entirely  removed 
and  the  work  of  converting  her  into  a  screw  steamer  undertaken,  but 
never  completed,  and  she  never  went  to  sea  again. 

Constructor  Grice's  steamer  was  the  JPowhatan,  launched  at 
the  Norfolk  navy  yard  .February  14,  1850.  The  principal  dimen- 
sions of  the  hull  were  practically  the  same  as  those  of  the  Susque- 
hanna, but  as  her  load  draft  when  completed  was  about  a  foot  less 
than  that  of  the  latter  vessel,  her  displacement  was  also  somewhat 
less;  she  was  bark-rigged.  The  engines  were  designed  by  Engineer- 
in-Chief  Haswell  and  were  built  by  Mehaffy  &  Co.,  of  Gosport, 
Va.,  under  the  inspection  of  Chief  Engineer  William  Sewell,  U.  S. 
Navy.  There  were  two  inclined  direct-acting  condensing  engine; 
with  the  same  cylinder  dimensions  as  those  of  the  Susqeuhanna,  b,n 



differing  from  that  vessel  in  design,  having  vertical  air  pumps  and 
a  novelty  in  engine  framing,  the  frames  being  of  wrought  iron,  built 
up  on  the  box-girder  principle.  There  were  four  copper  boilers  of 
the  same  general  dimensions  as  those  of  the  sister  ship,  but  differ- 
ing from  them  considerably  in  details  of  arrangement,  fittings,  etc. 
The  lower  flues  were  made  elliptical  to  increase  the  heating  surface. 


Length,  16  feet;  breadth,  15  feet  3  inches;  height,  13  feet;  grate  surface,  88|  square 
feet;  heating  surface,  1,971  square  feet. 

A  new  feature  in  marine  engineering  practice  appeared  in  this  ves- 
sel in  the  introduction  of  a  small  one-furnace  auxiliary  boiler,  inten- 
ded primarily  for  supplying  a  hoisting  engine  to  aid  in  coaling  ship. 
The  Powhatan  also  was  fitted  with  two  Worthington  steam  pumps, 
which  is  believed  to  be  the  first  appearance  in  our  navy  of  that  now 
familiar  auxiliary. 

Owing  to  a  lack  of  professional  and  clerical  aid,  Engineer-in- 
Ohief  Haswell  personally  designed  every  detail  of  the  Powhatan's 
machinery  and  made  the  working  drawings  with  his  own  hands  in 
the  intervals  between  attention  to  the  necessary  duties  of  his  office. 
So  pressed  was  he  for  time  that  he  was  unable  to  lay  out  a  general 
design  of  the  engines  to  work  up  to,  but  had  to  develop  the  various 
parts  progressively.  This  feat  is  probably  unprecedented  in  design- 
ing work  of  such  magnitude,  and,  considered  together  with  the  re- 
markable success  of  the  Powhatan's  engines,  furnishes  a  most  valu- 
able index  to  the  rare  professional  accomplishments  of  Mr.  Haswell. 



































The  Powhatan  was  employed  in  service,  almost  continously 
for  a  longer  period  than  any  steamer  ever  in  the  navy,  with 
the  sole  exception  of  the  Michigan,  which  latter  vessel  owes  her 
longevity,  as  has  been  pointed  out  before,  to  the  fact  that  her  career 
has  been  confined  to  summer  cruising  on  the  fresh-water  lakes  of  the 
Northwest.  The  copper  boilers  of  the  Powhatan  of  course  had  to 
be  replaced  in  time,  but  her  original  engines  remained  thoroughly 
efficient  *and  trustworthy  to  the  end,  a  monument  to  the  ability  of 
their  designer  and  the  skill  of  the  men  who  built  them.  When  the 
Powhatan  was  attached  to  the  Japan  expedition  squadron,  her  chief 
engineer,  George  Sewell,  wrote  home  that  in  a  trip  of  three  thou- 
sand miles  under  steam  a  hammer  had  not  been  touched  to  her  en- 
gines, which  ran  with  such  rhythmic  regularity  that  they  seemed  set 
to  music. 

Even  in  her  old  age  the  Powhatan  was  a  faster  steamer  than 
almost  any  other  on  the  navy  list  and  was  decidedly  the  most  com- 
fortable and  popular  with  both  officers  and  men.  With  ten  pounds 
of  steam  and  her  great  wheels  making  ten  revolutions  per  minute 
she  was  proverbially  capable  of  making  ten  knots  an  hour,  and  that 
without  much  reference  to  the  state  of  the  weather.  In  1878,  after 
she  had  outlived  almost  every  steamer  of  her  date,  she  fought  for 
her  lite  off  Hatteras,  under  the  command  of  that  splendid  old  sea- 
man, Captain  T.  S.  Fillebrown,  through  one  of  the  most  awful  cy- 
clones that  any  ship  ever  survived,  and  though  terribly  battered 
and  strained,  remained  able  to  breast  the  sea  for  several  years  there- 
after. In  that  storm  it  is  reported  by  the  indisputable  evidence  of 
many  observers  that  her  fore  yard-arm  dipped  into  the  sea.  In 
1887,  to  the  genuine  regret  of  all  in  the  navy,  the  Powhatan  was 
condemned  by  a  board  of  survey,  being  actually  worn  out  in  the  ser- 
vice, and  an  unsentimental  administration  s°ld  her  poor  old  bones  to  the 

ghouls  of  the  ocean — the  ship-breakers. 

One  of  the  two  smaller  vessels  was  built  at  the  navy  yard  at 
Kittery,  Maine,  and  named  Saranac.  She  was  the  first  of  the 
four  steamers  to  be  completed,  being  launched  in  November,  1848, 
and  sailed  for  a  cruise  in  the  West  Indies  in  April,  1850.  £>he  was 
216  feet  long,  38  feet  beam,  and  of  2,200  tons  displacement  at  the 
mean  draft  of  17  feet.  The  machinery,  designed  by  Engineer 
CopeJand,  was  built  by  Coney  &  Co.  of  Boston,  under  the  inspec- 


tion  of  Chief  Engineers  ¥m.  W.  W.  Wood  and  D.  B.  Martin,  and 
consisted  of  a  pair  of  inclined  direct-acting  condensing  engines  with 
cylinders  60  inches  in  diameter  and  9  feet  stroke,  driving  radial 
paddle-wheels  27  feet  in  diameter.  The  engines  were  fitted  with 
Stevens'  patent  cut-offs.  There  were  three  copper  double-return 
drop-flue  boilers,  designed  to  carry  twelve  pounds  of  steam  pressure, 
aggregating  188  square  feet  of  grate  surface  and  5,127  square  feet 
of  heating  surface.  At  an  ordinary  engine  speed  of  about  twelve 
revolutions  per  minute  about  eight  knots  an  hour  could  easily  be 
maintained.  The  rig  was  that  of  a  bark,  and  her  lines  were  so  grace- 
ful and  the  external  finish  so  perfect  that  she  was  regarded  as  an  or- 
nament to  the  service.  After  a  long  career  for  a  war  vessel  the 
Saranac  came  to  a  violent  end  in  June,  1875,  by  running  ashore  and 
becoming  a  total  wreck  in  Seymour  Narrows,  while  on  her  way  to 

The  fourth  one  of  these  steamers — the  Scm  Jacinto — was,  like 
the  wrath  of  Achilles,  "  the  direful  spring  of  woes  unnumbered, "  to 
almost  everyone  ever  prominently  connected  with  her,  her  campaign 
of  destruction  beginning  with  blasting  the  naval  career  of  Engi- 
neer-in-Chief  Haswell.  Designed  by  the  same  constructor,  Mr. 
Hartt,  who  designed  the  Saranao,  the  hull  was  an  exact  counterpart 
of  that  vessel,  and  the  rig  was  the  same.  She  was  built  at  the  navy 
yard,  New  York,  where  she  was  launched  in  April,  1850.  The  en- 
gines were  designed  by  Mr.  Haswell  and  were  built  by  Merrick  and 
Towne  of  Philadelphia,  under  the  inspection  at  different  times  of 
Chief  Engineers  Earon,  Wood  and  Hunt,  and  finally  Mr.  Haswell 
himself.  They  consisted  of  two  ' '  square  ' '  engines,  as  they  were 
termed,  operating  the  shaft  of  a  screw  propeller;  the  cylinders  were 
62f  inches  in  diameter  and  50  inches  stroke,  and  were  placed 
athwartship,  inclined  upward  and  outboard  with  the  inner,  or  lower 
heads,  in  contact  over  the  crank  shaft.  Long  cross-heads  carried 
two  connecting  rods  for  each  engine,  reaching  backward  and  down- 
ward on  each  side  of  the  cylinders  to  take  hold  of  the  cranks.  There 
were  three  copper  boilers  of  the  same  external  dimensions  as  those 
of  the  /S(fvr<mac,  but  somewhat  better  designed,  as  they  displayed 
more  grate  and  heating  surface. 

There  were  some  strange  things  about  this  ship,  one  of  which, 
was  the  location  of  the  propeller  shaft  twenty  inches  to  one  side  of 


the  center  line  of  the  keel,  which  was  done  at  the  instance  of  the 
three  naval  constructors,  members  of  the  board  that  settled  upon 
the  plans  for  the  vessel.  These  gentlemen  were  eminent  in  the 
business  of  ship  designing  and  building,  but  screw-propelled  ships 
were  new  to  them  and  they  could  not  bring  themselves  to  agree  to 
any  application  of  steam  power  that  involved  cutting  a  big  hole  for 
a  shaft  through  the  stern  post.  It  transpired  that  Ericsson,  who  had 
patents  on  a  multitude  of  marine  appliances,  useful  and  other- 
wise, had  a  patent  on  a  precisely  similar  arrangement.  This  loca- 
tion entailed  the  projection  of  the  propeller  shaft  far  enough  beyond 
the  stern  to  allow  the  screw  to  work  abaft  the  rudder,  which  plan 
Mr.  Haswell  had  opposed  in  the  Board,  but  made  his  designs  in  ac- 
cordance when  it  was  finally  decided  upon.  The  board  also  fixed 
the  location  of  the  engines  so  far  aft  and  in  such  a  cramped  space 
that  the  engineer  who  had  to  design  them  was  so  handicapped  that 
f  it  was  practically  impossible  for  him  to  arrive  at  an  arrangement  of 
details  that  would  allow  proper  room  for  examination,  repairing  and 
adjustment  of  the  machinery  when  assembled  in  place.  The  screw 
itself  as  designed  was  a  ponderous  six  bladed  affair,  five  feet  wide 
axially  and  weighing  some  seven  tons,  which  weight,  overhanging 
the  stern  five  feet  at  least,  was  manifestly  a  menace  to  the  safety  of 
the  ship.  Mr.  Haswell  claimed,  and  with  propriety  as  the  records 
of  tlie  Board  show,  that  he  was  forced  to  such  a  design  by  the 
board's  exaction  that  no  patents  be  infringed,  and  the  lighter  types 
of  screws  then  in  use,  having  thin  supported  blades,  were  covered 
by  Ericsson's  patents. 

As  the  engines  of  the  San  Jacinto  approached  completion  it  be- 
gan to  be  gossiped  abroad  among  engineers  that  the  engineer-in- 
chief  had  made  a  fearful  botch  of  his  designs,  and  the  various  naval 
engineers  and  machinery  contractors  who  fancied  they  had  been 
wronged  by  him  in  the  fearless  performance  of  his  official  duties, ac- 
cording to  his  conscientious  judgment,  gathered  their  forces  for  his 
overthrow,  the  movement  being  simply  a  manifestation  of  the  natural 
tendency  of  mankind  to  assail  and  humble  the  eminent.  In  a  prim- 
itve  state  of  society,  man  kills  his  rival  with  a  club  and  eats  him, 
partly  in  revenge,  partly  to  remove  an  obstacle  to  his  ambition,  and 
partly  to  provide  subsistence  for  himself.  As  we  become  enlightened, 
the    older  and  more  natural  code  of  ethics  is  abandoned  in  deferenc 


to  certain  artificial  prejudices  which  are  adjuncts  of  civilization,  and 
■while  less  rude  are  equally  effective  methods  of  personal  warfare. 
This  seems  to  he  a  necessity,  for  the  natural  predilection  of  man  is 
a  love  of  hostility  to  his  species,  as  exhibited  in  personal  rivalries 
and  jealousies  when  a  state  of  war  does  not  afford  an  outlet  for  his 
passions  under  the  guise  of  patriotism. 

Such  a  condition  of  society  may  be  sad  to  contemplate  in  these 
closing  years  of  the  nineteenth  century,  and  there  are  doubtless 
many  who  are  thoughtlessly  ready  to  controvert  the  proposition.  A 
little  reflection,  however,  will  be  convincing  to  the  majority;  for  as 
wejook  about  the  world  it  appears  that  in  spite  of  all  the  doctrines 
of  peace  and  good-will  to  man,  promulgated  by  the  apostles  of  Chris- 
tianity and  other  great  religions,  there  does  not  and  never  has  exis- 
ted, the  nation  large  enough  to  permit  of  the  harmonious  existence 
within  its  borders  at  the  same  time,  two  great  statesmen,  soldiers, 
or  others  of  the  same  calling ;  nor  is  •  there  a  village  so  small  that 
two  carpenters,  shoemakers  or  blacksmiths  within  its  limits  fail  to 
become  rivals,  each  claiming  his  fellow  craftsman  to  be  incompetent 
and  an  imposter.  Even  the  clergy,  the  anointed  iapostles  of  the 
doctrine  of  peace,  take  delight  in  bitter  quarrels  of  creed,  or,  failing 
in" opportunities  for  that,  turn  upon  each  other  in  the  same  denomi- 
tion  and  institute  heresy  trials,  and  critical  inquisitions  regarding 
their  profession  of  faith. 

Unpalatable  as  it  maybe,  it  is  nevertheless  a  plain,  unvarnished 
truth  that  fondness  for  war  and  strife  is  an  instinct  inherent  in  the 
human  breast.  Without  this  instinct  success  in  any  under- 
taking is  well-nigh  impossible,  as  society  is  at  present  consti- 
tuted. Nothing  proves  this  more  clearly  than  the  history  of 
nations,  which,  when  analyzed,  are  simply  tales  of  the  con- 
tention of  individuals  striving  for  supremacy.  He  who  becomes 
foremost  in  any  walk  in  life  must  succeed  at  the  expense  of  his  fel- 
lows who  are  struggling  for  the  same  eminence,  and  it  is  literally 
"to  him  that  overcometh, "  who,  according  to  Revelation,  "shall 
be  given  power  over  the  nations." 

Eeturning  to  the  subject,  after  this  digression,  it  must  be  ad- 
mitted that  there  were  some  radically  bad  features  connected  with 
the  design  of  the  San  Jacinto's  machinery,  but  the  assertions  freely 
made  at  the  time  that  the  engines  were  an  "  object  of  ridicule  to  all 

Mk.  Charles  B.  Stuart, 
Engineer-in-Chief  of  the  Navy,  December  1,  1850,  to  June  30,  1853. 


engineers  who  have  seen  them,"  and  a  "  standing  monument  of  Mr. 
Haswell's  incompetency  and  folly,"  were  more  ridiculous  in  view 
of  Haswell's  reputation  and  achievements  as  an  engineer  than  any 
defect  in  these  engines  could  possibly  have  been.  Some  of  the 
faults  of  the  San  Jacinto's  engines  were  forced  upon  the  designer 
by  conditions  imposed  by  superior  authority  and  were  as  well 
known  to  him  as  they  could  have  been  to  any  of  his  critics, 
while  many  of  the  other  alleged  defects  existed  chiefly  in  the  minds 
of  those  who  had  decided  the  time  had  come  to  thrust  him  from  the 
pedestal  he  occupied  above  all  other  scientific  engineers  of  his  time. 

The  hue  and  cry  had  its  effect,  and  late  in  November,  1850, 
the  President  appointed  Mr.  Charles  B.  Stuart  of  New  York  to  the 
office  of  engineer-in-chief  of  the  Navy  from  December  1st,  Mr.  Has- 
well  resuming  his  place  at  the  head  of  the  list  of  chief  engineers. 
Mr.  Stuart  was  a  civil  engineer  of  prominence,  being  the  superin- 
tendent of  the  Erie  Canal  at  the  time  of  his  appointment,  and  made 
no  pretense  to  knowledge  of  marine  engineering,  though  he  acquired 
considerable  knowledge  by  experience  while  engineer-in-chief.  "FTjh 
was  purely  a  political  appointment  as  a  reward  for  party  service, 
and  he  never  was  an  enrolled  member  of  the  naval  engineer  corps. 
Some  serious  engineering  mistakes,  which  have  been  or  will  be 
noted  in  these  pages,  occurred  in  the  navy  during  his  administra- 
tion, the  result  of  which  was  that  when  he  resigned,  after  an  occu- 
pancy of  his  office  for  two  years  and  a  half,  the  custom  was  adopted 
of  selecting  the  engineer-in-chief  from  the  chief  engineers  of  the 
navy,  who  were  familiar  with  the  service  and  the  peculiarities  of  its 
steam  vessels.  While  engineer-in-chief,  Mr.  Stuart  performed  good 
service  for  the  engineering  world  by  collecting  the  necessary  data 
and  publishing  two  remarkably  valuable  and  reliable  books  on  naval 
material — "The  Naval  Dry  Docks  of  the  United  States,"  and  "The 
Naval  and  Mail  Steamers  of  the  United  States." 

The  day  after  Mr.  Stuart's  induction  into  office,  Mr.  Haswell 
was  ordered  to  assume  the  duty  of  superintendent  of  the  installation 
of  the  San  Jacinto's  machinery,  and  Chief  Engineer  B.  F.  Isher- 
wood,  who  before  entering  the  naval  service  had  been  associated 
with  Mr.  Stuart  in  the  civil  engineering  work  of  the  Erie  canal,  was 
detached  from  duty  under  the  Light  House  Board  and  ordered  as 
technical  assistant  to  the  engineer-in- chief .  ^  Shortly  thereafter,  let- 



ters  expressing  grave  doubts  about  tbe  San  Jacinto  were  sent  by 
the  engineer- in-chief  to  the  chief  of  the  bureau  of  construction,  and 
requests  made  that  a  survey  be  held  before  the  work  of  completing 
the  ship  was  allowed  to  go  further.  As  a  result,  a  board  consisting 
of  Chief  engineers  Wm.  P.  Williamson,  Wm.  Sewell  and  Henry 
Hunt,  provided  with  a  categorical  list  of  fifteen  questions',  the  ans- 
wers to  which,  it  was  snpposed  would  damn  the  machinery  of  the 
San  Jacinto,  was  assembled  at  New  York  to  examine  the  vessel 
and  report  discoveries,  a  report  being  made  February  10,  1851.    It 


Diameter,  14J  feeet. 
Pitch,  35  to  39  feet. 


Diameter,  14J  feet. 
Pitch,  40  to  45  feet 

was  decidely  unfavorable  to  the  engines  in  general,  and  especially 
severe  in  regard  to  the  heavy  projecting  propeller  and  the  side  loca- 
tion of  the  shaft,  both  of  which  objectionable  features  were  recom- 
mended for  alteration.  The  propeller  was  altered  accordingly,  it 
so  happening  that  the  one  originally  designed  had  not  yet  been  cast, 
although  its  mold  was  completed;  the  modified  screw,  as  recommen- 
ded by  the  Board  and  designed  by  Mr.  Isherwood,  together  with 
the  one  originally  designed  being  represented  by  the  outline  sketches 
here  inserted. 


The  shaft  passage  through  the  stern  having  been  cut,  the  rec- 
ommendation of  the  board  of  engineers  regarding  its  modification 
was  not  carried  out.     It  has  been  previously  noted  that  Captain 
Ericsson  had  a  patent  on  such  an  arrangement  and  he,  through  an 
attorney   promptly   made   claim  for   infringement;  the    claim  was 
T-eferred  to  Engineer-in-Ohief  Stuart  for  an  opinion,  and  that  official 
made  a  most  lengthy  report,  acknowledging  in  rather  indirect  terms 
that  the  shaft  arrangement  was  practically  the  same  as  that  described 
in   the   specification   of  Ericsson's  patent   and  was   therefore   an 
infringement  for    which  the  patentee   was   entitled   to   damages. 
Besides   this   question,  which  was  the  only  real  point  raised  by 
Ericsson's  claim,  the  engineer-ih-chief  dilated  upon  other  features 
of  the  San  Jacinto's  machinery  involved  very  indirectly,  if  at  all, 
in  the  claim,    and   of   course  proved  they  were  not  infringements, 
the  object  of  this  digression  being  apparently  to  make  an  occasion 
to  reflect  upon  the  machinery  designs  of  the   ex-engineer-in-chief, 
which  reflection  was  introduced  into  the  report  somewhat  neatly  by 
the  following  sentence:  "  I  cannot  discover  that  the  construction  of 
the  >  engines  '  of  the  San  Jacmto  involves  the  infringement  of  Cap- 
tain Ericsson's  patent  in  any  particular,  nor  do  I  think  he  would 
upon  inspection  of  them,  make  any  claim  for  the  '  novelties  '  intro- 
duced in  their  construction." 

The  chief  of  the  bureau  of  Construction  was  unable  to  extract 
any  conclusions  from  the  mass  of  verbiage  with  which  the  engineer- 
in-chief 's  opinions  were  clothed,  and  returned  the  report  to  him  as 
being  "too  indefinite  to  authorize  a  settlement  of  the  question.'1 
In  replying  to  this,  Mr.  Stuart  did  himself  no  great  credit  by  saying 
that  if  the  report  was  indefinite  it  was  ' '  owing  to  the  extreme  illness 
under  which  I  was  suffering  at  the  time  of  writing  the  report. ' '  This 
oxcuse,  taken  into  consideration  with  the  uncalled-for  comments 
injected  into  the  original  report,  has  been  conclusive  proof  to  the 
author  in  his  patient  investigation  of  this  case,  that  professional  zeal 
was  not  the  only  motive  that  inspired  the  engineer-in-chief,  and  that 
in  his  effort  to  disparage  his  predecessor  he  rather  stultified  himself. 
Chief  Engineer  Haswell,  not  giving  satisfaction  as  an  inspector 
of  machinery  to  the  new  administration  of  the  steam  department, 
was  eventually  relieved  from  that  duty  and  placed  on  waiting 
orders,  the  San  Jacmto  being  completed  and  fitted  for  sea   under 


the  supervision  of  Chief  Engineer  Henry  Hunt.  When  the  ship 
was  ready  for  sea,  Mr.  Haswell  was  ordered  to  her,  his  orders  being 
brought  about  by  the  following  recommendation,  which  explains 
itself  fully  as  to  animus  and  motives : 

Office  of  the  Engineer-in-Chief,  U.  S.  N., 
August  25,  1851. 

Sib  :  I  respectfully  recommend  that  chief  engineer  Henry 
Hunt  be  detached  from  the  United  States  steamer  San  Jacinto, 
and  ordered  ;to  the  United  States  steamer  Fulton ;  and  that  chief 
engineer  Charles  H.  Haswell,  now  waiting  orders  at  New  York,  be 
ordered  to  the  United  States  steamer  San  Jacinto. 

The  propriety  of  the  above  recommendations  will  be  obvious 
from  the  following  considerations  : 

The  machinery,  of  the  San  Jacinto  was  designed  by  Mr. 
Haswell,  and  has  been  executed  (with  the  exception  of  the  propeller) 
in  conformity  with  those  designs.  Upon  my  acceptance  of  the  office 
of  engineer-in-chief,  the  machinery  of  the  San  Jacinto  was  one  of 
the  first  things  that  came  under  my  notice,  and  struck  me  so  entirely 
unfavorably,  that  I  reported  my  opinion  to  the  bureau,  with  the 
recommendation  that  a  board  of  chief  engineers  be  ordered  to 
examine  it,  and  report  their  opinion.  The  bureau  acted  on  this 
recommendation,  and  the  resulting  report  of  the  board  completely 
sustained  my  own  views ;  their  condemnation  of  the  engines  and 
propeller  was  full  and  unlimited,  while,  with  a  view  to  save  the 
vessel  from  utter  failure,  the  board  proposed  a  new  propeller  of  such 
proportions  as  the  mal-design  of  the  machinery  had  rendered  neces- 
sary. This  report  was  approved  by  the  bureau,  the  new  propeller 
was  made  in  conformity  with  it,  and  is  at  present  fitted  to  the  vessel 
now  about  completed. 

As  the  professional  reputation  of  Mr.  Haswell  is  involved  in 
the  performance  of  the  machinery  of  this  vessel,  the  propriety  of 
sending  him  to  sea  in  charge  of  it,  instead  of  in  charge  of  chief 
engineer  Hunt,  who  was  one  of  the  board  that  condemned  it,  is  too 
apparent  for  argument. 

Furthermore,  the  Fulton  has  machinery  designed  by  me,  and 


executed  in  conformity  with  my  instructions  ;  and  as  it  is  necessary, 
owing  to  the  limited  number  of  chief  engineers  in  the  service,  that 
Mr.  Haswell  be  ordered  either  to  the  San  Jacinto  or  Fulton,  as  he  is 
the  only  chief  engineer  unemployed,  the  impropriety  of  putting 
him  in  charge  of  machinery  designed  by  one  who  was  compelled  by 
his  position  and  sense  of  duty  to  the  disagreeable  task  of  ■'pointing 
out  the  defects  of,  and  condemning  Mr.  Haswell's  machinery,  can- 
not fail  to  be  properly  appreciated. 

Independently  of  the  above  considerations,  the  health  of  Mr. 
Hunt  is  such  as  to  utterly  incapacitate  him  for  a  long  cruise,  while 
he  is  sufficiently  able  to  perform  the  short  runs  which  will  probably 
constitute  the  chief  duty  of  the  Fulton. 

I  have,  therefore,  in  justice  and  delicacy  to  all  parties,  to  con- 
clude with  the  suggestion  that  the  detachment  of  Mr.  Hunt  from  the 
San  Jacinto  and  ordering  to  the  Fulton,  and  the  ordering  of  Mr. 
Haswell  to  the  San  Jacinto,  be  made,  to  take  effect  on  the  15th 
September  next,  which  will  give  sufficient  time  for  the  performance 
of  the  trial  trip  of  the  San  Jacinto,  and  the  putting  her  in  the  hands 
of  Mr.  Haswell  with  her  machinery  in  complete  order. 

I  have  the  honor  to  be,  sir,  very  respectfully  your  obedient 

Chas.  B.  Stuaet, 

Per  B.  F.  Ishebwood, 
Chief  Engineer, 
Com.  Chas.  Wm.  Skinneb, 

Chief  of  Bureau  of  Construction,  &c. 

At  that  time  Mr.  Haswell  was  a  confirmed  invalid  from  a 
torpid  liver  and  chronic  dyspepsia,  which  caused  his  subjection  to 
a  medical  survey,  two  of  the  three  members  of  the  medical  board 
reporting  him  unfit  for  sea  service.  When  this  report  reached  the 
Department  the  Secretary  was  absent  and  the  Secretary  of  "War  was 
acting  in  his  stead;  that  official,  although  he  had  said  in  private 
conversation  that  Mr.  Haswell  was  unfit  for  service,  inadvertantly 
signed  a  dissent  from  the  decision  of  the  medical  board,  which  the 
chief  clerk,  had  laid  before  him  with  all  the  letters  of  the  day.  As 
soon  as  the  San  Jacinto  was  put  in  commission,  the  surgeon  reported 


Mr.  Haswell  as  being  unfit  for  sea  duty,  and  not  long  afterward  the 
surgeon  and  his  assistant  joined  in  a  report  to  the  same  effect.  No 
notice  of  these  reports  being  taken,  Mr.  Haswell  wrote  to  Commo- 
dore Morris,  with  whom  he  had  been  associated  for  several  years, 
saying  that  he  would  be  forced  to  resign  on  account  of  his  health, 
but  he  was  dissuaded  from  that  by  the  commodore  obtaining  from 
the.  Secretary  of  the  Navy  a  promise  that  in  case  the  chief  engineer's 
health  did  not  improve  by  the  time  the  vessel  arrived  at  Gibraltar 
he  would  be  invalided  home,  upon  which  assurance  Mr.  Haswell 
agreed  to  remain  in  the  ship. 

When  the  ship  was  about  to  sail,  the  surgeon  and  commanding 
officer  both  reported  that  Mr.  Haswell  was  unable  to  proceed, 
and  he,  fearing  that  his  friend,  Commodore  Morris,  would  think 
he  had  been  instrumental  in  obtaining  these  reports,  and  thus 
had  broken  faith  both  with  him  and  the  agreement  with  the  Secre- 
tary as  to  his  remaining  in  the  ship,  telegraphed  to  Commodore 
Morris  that  the  reports  were  not  made  at  his  instance.  The  com- 
modore went  to  the  Secretary,  who  was  in  the  act  of  signing  the 
order  relieving  Haswell  from  duty,  and  by  exhibiting  the  tele- 
gram convinced  him  that  the  detachment  was  unnecessary.  In  this 
manner  it  happened  that  from  an  over  sensitiveness  regarding  the 
estimate  of  his  integrity  he  remained  in  the  ship,  and  the  misunder- 
standing of  the  telegram  lost  him  his  detachment,  and  in  the  end 
his  commission  as  well.  Three  days  after  the  vessel  sailed  he  was 
put  on  the  sick  list  and  relieved  from  duty.  Upon  the  arrival  of 
the  vessel  at  Cadiz  he  proceeded  to  Gibraltar  to  get  the  necessary 
orders  for  detachment  from  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  station, 
in  accordance  with  the  promise  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  bat 
that  officer  declined  to  take  any  action  in  the  matter. 

Sick,  relieved  from  duty,  denied  the  immunity  of  four  reports 
of  surgeons  as  to  his  physical  unfitness,  the  promise  of  the  Secretary 
of  the  Navy  ignored,  disgusted  with  his  treatment,  and  mentally 
depressed,  Chief  Engineer  Haswell  left  his  ship  on  his  own  respons- 
ibility and  returned  to  his  own  country,  for  which  act,  regardless 
of  his  past  invaluable  services  for  the  steam  navy,  he  was  drop- 
ped from  the  rolls  of  the  navy,  the  date  of  this  action  of  the 
Department  being  May  14,  1852.  Some  years  later  (in  1859)  the 
President  at  the  close  of  a  session  of  Congress  sent  his  name  to  the 


Senate  for  confirmation  as  a  chief  engineer  in  his  former  pot  jirion, 
but  Congress  adjourned  before  the  nomination  was  reached,  and  Mr. 
Haswell  made  no  effort  to  have  the  matter  revived,  as  he  was  very 
profitably  employed  at  the  time. 

The  engineer  corps  owes  much  to  Mr.  Haswell  as  its  organizer 
and  steady  champion,  and  we  of  thiB  day  cannot  but  wonder  at  the 
great  progress  he  made  considering  his  limited  official  power  and 
the  intense  prejudice  he  had  to  struggle  against.  Not  only  were 
many  of  the  most  influential  of  the  old  naval  officers  bitterly 
opposed  to  the  invasion  of  Bteam  into  the  domain  they  regarded  as 
their  own,  but  at  least  one  Secretary  of  the  Navy  shared  the  same 
conservative  sentiment.  Mr.  Secretary  Paulding,  who  ruled  the 
Navy  Department  when  the  steam  navy  was  very  yonng,  set  naval 
progress  back  a  number  of  years  by  blocking  the  attempts  to  intro- 
duce the  new  power.  In  his  diary  he  complained  of  being  steamed 
to  death,  and  wrote  that  he  "  never  would  consent  to  see  our  grand 
old  ships  supplanted  by  these  new  and  ugly  sea-monsters,"  the 
sea-monsters  referred  to  especially  being  the  beautiful  steamers 
Mississippi  and  Missouri. 

Mr.  Haswell  was  master  of  the  engineering  science  of  his  time 
and  fully  appreciated  the  magnitude  of  the  change  in  naval  methods 
meant  by  the  introduction  of  steam,  never  missing  an  opportunity 
to  teach  and  preach  his  belief.  Without  having  any  faith  in  Lieu- 
tenant Hunter's  scheme  of  submerged  propulsion,  he  nevertheless 
gave  that  officer  much  aid  in  his  projects  and  furnished  him  with 
designs  for  machinery  simply  because  Hunter  needed  steam,  and 
his  vessels,  although  fore-doomed  to  failure,  were  still  additions  to 
the  steam  navy.  Captain  Stockton,  also,  found  in  him  a  staunch 
supporter,  always  ready  to  supply  professional  facts  and  arguments 
in  refutation  of  the  many  objections  raised  by  the  old  conservatives 
against  Stockton's  scheme  for  a  war-steamer. 

Especially  fortunate  was  Mr,  Haswell  in  being  associated  with 
Captain  M.  C.  Ferry  at  the  beginning  of  his  naval  career,  for  in 
him  he  found  a  friend  of  his  profession  and  a  supporter  broad- 
minded  enough  to  realize  that  a  new  era  in  naval  construction  had 
dawned,  and  that  the  interests  of  the  naval  service  demanded  its 
recognition  to  the  subordination  of  all  the  prejudices  of  the  past. 
To  quote  from  Captain  Ferry's  biographer,   he,  "first,   last,   and 


always  honored  the  engineer  and  believed  in  his  eqnal  possession, 
■with  the  line  officers,  of  all  the  soldierly  virtues,  notwithstanding 
that  the  man  at  the  lever,  out  of  sight  of  the  enemy,  must  needs 
lack  the  thrilling  excitement  of  the  officers  on  deck.  He  felt  that 
courage  in  the  engine-room  had  even  a  finer  moral  strain  than  the 
more  physically  exciting  passions  of  the  deck. ' ' 

As  this  is  probably  the  last  appearance  in  this  history  of  the 
eminent  engineer  who  was  the  first  leader  and  pioneer  of  the  naval 
engineer  corps,  except  by  occasional  reference  to  his  works,  it  is 
fitting  that  this  chapter  should  close  with  a  brief  review  of  his 
career  and  achievements, 

Charles  H.  Haswell  was  born  in  the  city  of  New  York  in  the 
year  1809,  and  from  earliest  youth  exhibited  a  decided  talent  for 
mechanical  investigations  and  pursuits,  having  at  the  age  of  fifteen 
constructed  a  small  fire-engine  and  later  a  steam  engine  of  such 
excellence  that  both  were  readily  disposed  of  to  pecuniary  advan- 
tage. After  receiving  a  classical  education,  he  entered  upon  the 
calling  to  which  his  natural  bent  directed  by  entering  the  employ  of 
the  engineering  establishment  of  James  P.  Allaire  of  New  York, 
where  he  developed  into  a  thorough  competent  theoretical  and 
practical  mechanical  engineer.  In  1836,  when  twenty-seven  years 
of  age,  and  with  the  reputation  of  being  one  of  the  best  scientific 
engineers  in  New  York,  he  was  appointed  by  the  Navy  Depart- 
ment as  superintending  engineer  and  later  chief  engineer  of  the 
steamer  Fulton,  his  naval  career  in  connection  with  that  vessel  and 
others  having  already  been  told.  "While  connected  with  the  Fulton 
at  the  New  York  navy  yard  Mr.  Haswell  (in  1837)  lengthened  the 
gig  of  the  sloop-of-war  Ontario  and  fitted  in  it  a  small  engine  and 
boiler  with  which  the  boat  was  run  about  the  harbor;  this  was 
undoubtedly  the  first  successful  essay  of  a  steam  launch,  notwith- 
standing the  many  claims  that  have  been  put  forth  regarding  the 
origin  of  that  useful  application  of  steam. 

In  1846,  while  engineer-in- chief  of  the  navy,  Mr.  Haswell  con- 
ceived the  idea  of  placing  zinc  slabs  in  marine  boilers  to  divert 
oxidation  from  their  plates  and  had  zinc  placed  in  the  boilers  of  the 
Princeton  that  year  for  the  same  purpose.  He  also  had  zinc  placed 
in  the  hold  of  an  iron  steamer,  the  Legare  of  the  Eevenue  Marine 
fleet,  with  the  same  object  in  view.  This  use  of  zinc  was  nearly 
thirty  years  before  it  was  tried  in  England  as  a  new  invention. 


Since  leaving  the  naval  service  in  1852,  Mr.  Haswell  has  been 
actively  engaged  in  the  professions  of  civil  and  mechanical  engine- 
ering in  his  native  city.  He  has  been  a  Member  and  President  of 
the  Common  Council  of  the  city  of  New  York;  a  trustee  of  the  New 
York  and  Brooklyn  bridge;  Surveyor  of  steamers  for  Lloyd's  and 
the  Underwriters  of  New  York,  Boston  and  Philadelphia;  Consult- 
ing Engineer  for  the  Health  Department,  Quarantine  Commission, 
and  Department  of  Public  Charities  and  Correction  of  New  York; 
etc.,  etc.  He  designed  and  superintended  the  construction  of  the 
long  crib  at  Hart's  Island,  and  the  filling  in  of  Hoffman's  Island 
and  the  erection  of  buildings  on  same;  designed  and  superintended 
many  commercial  steamers,  foundations  for  some  of  the  heaviest 
buildings  in  New  York,  tests  of  water  works  plants,  etc.  One  of  his 
greatest  works  is  the  volume  of  rules  and  formula  pertaining  to 
mathematics,  mechanics  and  physics,  compiled  in  the  engineer's 
handbook  that  bears  his  name,  a  book  so  invaluable  that  it  has 
reached  its  fifty-ninth  edition  and  has  won  the  name  of  the 
"Engineer's  Bible. "  Mr.  Haswell  is  an  honorary  life  member  of 
the  American  Society  of  Naval  Engineers  ;  a  member  of  the 
American  Society  of  Civil  Engineers;  the  Institution  of  Civil 
Engineers,  and  the  Institution  of  Naval  Architects  of  England;  the 
Engineer's  Club  of  Philadelphia,  the  New  York  Academy  of 
Sciences,  the  American  Institute  of  Architects,  the  New  York 
Microscopical  Society,    etc.,  etc. 


'     ;  ■"■  "Into  the  city  of  Kambalu, 

By  the  road  that  leadeth  to  Ispahan 
At  the  head  of  his  dusty  caravan, 
Laden  with  treasures  from  realms  afcu. 
Baldacca  and  Kelat  and  Kandahar, 
Bode  the  great  captain  Alau." 

— Longfellow. 

The  Expedition  to  Japan  and  Treaty  with  That  Country— Services  of  Engi- 
neers in  the  Expedition — Value  of  Steamers  in  Impressing  the  Japanese— Other 
Naval  Affairs  in  the  Far  East. 

THE  opening  of  the  ports  of  Japan  to  the  world's  commerce  was 
one  of  the  direct  sequences  of  the  settlement  of  California  by 
citizens  of  the  United  States,  for  the  latter  event  was  accompanied 
with  an  immediate  marine  traffic  in  the  Pacific  and  this  in  turn 
demanded  the  establishment  of  coaling  ports,  harbors  of  refuge,  and 
other  necessities  to  navigation  on  all  the  shores  of  that  ocean.  An 
extensive  trade  with  China  already  existed,  and  the  American  whale- 
fisheries  in  Asiatic  waters  gave  employment  to  ten  thousand  men 
and  represented  an  investment  of  seventeen  million  dollars.  The 
march  of  commercial  progress  demanded  that  the  veil  of  mystery 
and  exclusiveness  so  long  drawn  over  the  Japanese  islands  be  re- 
moved and  the  coasts  of  that  country  be  opened  and  free  to  the 
world's  shipping.  The  only  port  in  Japan  where  foreigners  were 
allowed  to  touch  was  Nagasaki  in  the  southern  part  of  the  empire, 
where  a  Dutch  trading  station  was  permitted  to  exist  under  almost 
penal  conditions,  allowing  annual  visits  from  a  single  ship,  bringing 
goods  for  exchange.  To  this  place,  any  sailors  who  might  be  ship- 
wrecked on  the  Japanese  coast,  and  they  were  numerous,  were 
conveyed  and  kept  in  close  confinement  until  the  time  arrived  for 
sending  them  out  of  the  country  by  the  Dutch  merchantman. 

In  1849,  Commander  James  Glynn,  U.  S.  Navy,  in  the  brig 
Preble  visited  Nagasaki  to  demand  the  release  of  some  American 
sailors  known  to  be  imprisoned  there,  and  succeeded  in  his  mission 
although  not  without  much  difficulty,  as  the  authorities  were  very 


loth  to  have  anything  to  do  with  a  foreigner,  other  than  the  lonely 
dutch  trader.  While  there,  Glynn  made  a  careful  study  of  Japanese 
affairs  and  when  he  returned  to  the  United  States  early  in  L851  he 
represented  to  the  Navy  Department  that  the  time  was  ripe  for 
either  forcing  or  flattering  Japan  into  the  brotherhood  of  nations, 
urging  furthermore  that  he  be  sent  on  a  diplomatic  mission  with 
that  object  in  view.  The  idea  was  well  received,  but  when  steps 
were  taken  to  organize  a  squadron  sufficiently  large  to  lend  force 
and  dignity  to  the  expedition,  Glynn  found  himself  speedily  out- 
ranked, and  had  to  step  aside  for  his  seniors  who  commanded  larger 
ships;  to  him,  however,  belongs  the  credit  for  beginning  the  move- 
ment which  ended  in  the  great  triumph  of  Matthew  0.  Perry.  In 
June,  1851,  Commodore  Aulick,  commissioned  by  Secretary  of 
State,  Daniel  Webster  to  negotiate  a  treaty  with  Japan,  sailed  for 
the  East  India  station  in  the  new  side-wheel  steamer  Susquehanna, 
some  of  the  details  of  this  first  voyage  having  been  related  in  a  former 

Soon  after  arriving  on  the  station;  late  in  the  year,  Commodore 
Aulick  was  abruptly  recalled,  being  temporarily  relieved  by  Com- 
mander Franklin  Buchanan  of  the  flagship  and  later  by  Commodore 
M.  C.  Perry.  The  direct  cause  for  Aulick's  detachment  was 
alleged  violation  of  naval  orders  in  having  taken  his  son  to  sea  with 
him  as  a  passenger,  and  for  having  stated  that  he  had  been  obliged 
to  defray  the  expense  of  carrying  the  Brazilian  minister,  Macedo, 
from  the  United  States  to  his  own  country.  Commodore  Aulick's 
friends  asserted  that  Perry  had  deliberately  undermined  him,  and 
the  subject  became  one  of  those  factional  controversies  which  have 
from  time  to  time  become  notorious  in  our  naval  annals.  The  fact 
that  Perry  had  for  some  time  been  making  a  study  of  matters  relat- 
ing to  Japan  and  its  people,  gave  strength  to  the  charge  that  he  had 
sacrificed  a  brother  captain  to  his  own  ambition,  but  it  is  also  a 
matter  of  official  record  that  he  was  at  the  same  time  an  applicant 
for  the  command  of  the  Mediterranean  squadron  and  felt  himself 
aggrieved  when  ordered  to  the  Far  East.  His  biographer  publishes 
a  long  letter  addressed  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  dated  Decem- 
ber 3,  1851,  in  which  Perry  speaks  of  the  command  of  the  Medit- 
erranean squadron  as  his  fondest  ambition,  and  objects  to  the  pro- 
posed detail  to  Japan  on  the  ground  that  it  would  be  a  degradation 


in  rank  for  him  to  relieve  Aulick  who  had  served  nnder  him  in  a 
squadron  some  years  before.  This  seems  to  clear  Commodore 
Perry  of  any  charge  of  double-dealing  in  the  matter;  at  any  rate  the 
quarrel  has  no  place  in  this  book,  and  would  not  be  referred  to 
were  it  not  necessary  for  the  sake  of  thoroughness,  to  outline  the 
steps  leading  up  to,  what  may  be  fairly  considered,  the  proudest 
achievement  of  the  American  navy. 

On  the  24:th  of  January,  1852,  Perry  received  orders  to  assume 
command  of  the  East  India  squadron,  and  he  at  once  began  vigor- 
ously to  make  all  necessary  preparations  for  impressing  the  Japan- 
ese with  the  power  and  resources  of  the  nation  whose  friendship  they 
were  asked  to  accept.  His  steam  favorite  the  Mississippi  was 
given  for  his  flagship,  and  in  compliance  with  his  urgent  request 
that  he  have  more  steamers,  the  Princeton  and  Alleghany,  both 
then  under  extensive  repairs,  were  promised.  The  mishaps  to  these 
vessels  and  their  eventual  failure  to  become  part  of  the  expedition 
are  matters  that  have  already  been  told.  Perry  had  coal  and  ships' 
stores  sent  out  in  sailing  vessels  and  by  appealing  to  the  mechanical 
industries  of  the  country  he  made  a  vast  collection  of  the  imple- 
ments of  civilization  with  which  to  demonstrate  to  the  Japanese 
the  benefits  they  would  derive  from  intercourse  with  foreign  nations. 
Among  other  things  he  had  a  small  locomotive  and  car,  with  rails 
to  lay  a  circular  track  upon  which  to  operate;  agricultural  machin- 
ery, telegraphic  instruments,  arms,  sewing  machines,  printing 
presses,  metal-working  machinery,  tools  of  various  kinds,  and  all 
sorts  of  labor  saving  appliances.  In  a  word,  Perry  drew  upon  the 
field  of  the  engineer  for  his  most  potent  arguments,  and '  by  that 
sign  he  conquered  a  peace  that  never  could  have  been  achieved  by 
mere  show  of  force  or  use  of  arms. 

Wearied  of  delays,  Perry  finally  sailed  from  Norfolk  with  only 
the  Mississippi  on  the  24th  of  November,  1852,  and  proceeded  to 
his  station  by  way  of  Madeira  and  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  arriving 
at  Hong  Kong  on  the  6th  of  April,  1853,  and  at  Shanghai  on  May 
4th.  His  flag  was  transferred  to  the  Susquehanna  on  May  17,  that 
vessel  being  the  designated  flagship  of  the  squadron.  Before  going 
to  the  principal  Japanese  islands  a  visit  was  made  to  the  Eiu  Kin 
,(also  spelled  Lew  Chew  and  Loo  Choo)  and  the  Bonin  islands.  At 
.Napa  in  ftiu  Kiu  the  telegraphic,  photographic,  and  other  appliances 


■were  tested  to  make  sure  that  no  failures  would  occur  later.  The 
artist,  Mr.  Brown,  who  had  charge  of  the  daguerrotype  outfit,  not 
being  a  specialist  in  that  particular  art,  had  some  trouble  in  his  pre- 
liminary work  and  called  to  his  aid  Third  Assistant  Engineer 
Edward  D.  Kobie  of  the  Mississippi,  who  from  a  love  for  scientific 
matters  had  made  bimself  an  expert  in  this  art.  He  succeeded  at 
his  first  attempt  with  the  apparatus,  and  took  what  is  supposed  to 
be  the  first  daguerrotype  ever  made  in  the  far  east ;  it  being  a 
picture  of  Commodore  Ferry  standing  at  the  gateway  of  a  native 
temple.  Perry  was  delighted  with  Eobie's  work  and  remarked  to 
him,  "I  believe  that  you  engineers  can  do  anything." 

Finally  the  squadron,  then  consisting  of  the  steamers  Missis- 
sippi and  Susquehanna  and  the  sailing  sloops  of  war  Saratoga  and 
Plymouth,  proceeded  northward  and  on  the  7th  of  July  entered 
Teddo  Bay  and  came  to  anchor  off  the  village  of  Uraga.  Foreign 
ships  were  no  curiosity  in  those  waters  even  then.  Seven  years 
before,  Commodore  Biddle  with  the  ship-of-the-line  Columbus  and 
sloop-of-war  Vmeennes  had  visited  the  same  spot,  in  the  hope  of 
securing  permission  for  his  countrymen  to  trade,  but  was  turned 
away  with  a  positive  refusal.  Many  whalers  and  merchant  vessels 
had  been  there,  sometimes  seeking  in  vain  for  commercial  inter- 
course with  the  people;  sometimes  driven  in  by  stress  of  weather  to 
be  refused  a  harbor  of  refuge,  and  sometimes  on  errands  of  mercy 
bringing  home  Japanese  waifs  picked  up  adrift  at  sea  in  their  junks. 
In  1848  foreign  shipping  in  the  seas  about  Japan  had  so  increased 
that  the  fact  was  noted  as  a  remarkable  phenomenon  by  the  native 
chroniclers,  and  in  1850  it  had  been  made  a  matter  of  grave  report 
to  the  great  officials  of  the  empire  that  no  less  than  eighty-six  of  the 
"black  ships  of  the  i-jim,"  had  been  counted  passing  MatsumaS 
within  the  space  of  a  single  year. 

If  foreign  ships  were  familiar  objects,  steamers  were  not, 
for  Perry's  two  steam  frigates  were  the  first  craft  of  the  kind  to  be 
seen  in  Japanese  waters  and  their  appearance  excited  the  utmost 
consternation  among  the  intelligent;  for  the  Japanese  are  of  an 
investigating  and  mechanical  turn  of  mind,  and  all  who  were  above 
ascribing  the  movements  of  the  mysterious  ships  without  sails  to  the 
spirits  of  evil,  immediately  reasoned  that  they  must  have  some 
motive  power,  to  themselves  unknown,  but  about  which,   it  would 


be  good  to  learn.  The  ignorant  peasants  supposed  that  the  foreign 
barbarians  had  succeeded  in  imprisoning  volcanoes  in  their  ships, 
or,  refusing  to  believe  the  evidence  of  their  own  eyes,  comforted 
each  other  with  the  assurance  that  the  uncanny  spectacle  was  simplj 
a  mirage  created  by  the  breath  of  clams  and  would  soon  pas3  away. 

Commodore  Perry  had  thoroughly  informed  himself  of  the 
eeremonial  customs  of  Japan,  and  used  his  knowledge  of  the  extrav- 
agant etiquette  observed  by  the  people  of  that  country  to  good  and 
successful  purpose.  He  secluded  himself  in  his  cabin  and  played 
Mikado  and  Sho-gun  to  perfection,  first  to  the  provocation,  and 
finally  to  the  amazement  and  awe,  of  the  local  officials  of  constantly 
increasing  rank  who  visited  the  flagship,  only  to  be  snubbed  by 
refusals  to  see  the  chief  barbarian.  Even  the  governor  of  the  dis- 
trict learned  to  his  mortification  and  dismay  that  he  was  not  a  per- 
sonage important  enough  to  be  allowed  to  meet  the  mysterious 
power  hidden  behind  the  cabin  doors.  Orders  to  depart  were  met 
only  by  a  movement  of  the  ships  further  up  the  bay  towards  Tedo; 
offers  to  supply  food  and  water  in  the  hope  that  the  unwelcome  vis- 
itors would  then  leave  were  politely  declined,  and  the  natives  were 
forced  into  accepting  the  proposal  offered;  namely,  of  designating 
an  official  of  proper  rank  to  meet  the  barbarian  and  listen  to  what 
he  had  to  say.  On  the  14th  of  July,  all  arrangements  having  Been 
completed,  Ferry  first  showed  himself  and  went  on  shore  with  a 
large  suite  of  officers  and  four  hundred  marines  and  sailors  to  meet 
the  two  commissioners  appointed  to  deal  with  him.  The  whole 
affair  was  conducted  studiously  for  theatrical  effect  to  impress  the 
natives  with  the  grandeur  and  importance  of  the  event,  no  detail  of 
dress  Or  ceremony  likely  to  appeal  to  the  sensibilities  of  the  Japan- 
ese being  omitted.  A  letter  from  the  President  of  the  United 
States  to  the  "Emperor  of  Japan"  asking  that  friendly  rela- 
tions between  the  two.  nations  be  established  was  delivered  to  the 
commissioners  with  all  pomp  and  solemnity,  but  with  few  words, 
and  the  visitors  withdrew,  Perry  saying  that  he  would  allow  ample 
time  for  consideration  and  would  return  the  following  spring  for  an 

The  vessels  proceeded  southward  to  Hong  Kong,  where  the 
Powhatan,  which  had  left  the  United  States  in  March  to  join  the 
squadron  in  place  of  the  discarded  Princeton,  and  some  of  the  sail- 


ing  vessels  belonging  to  the  station  were  met.  Headquarters  for 
the  Japanese  expedition  were  established  at  Macao,  where  a  house 
was  rented  and  facilities  furnished  the  members  of  the  expedition 
for  developing  their  sketches  and  writing  reports  of  their  observa- 
tions. A  number  of  specialists  were  attached  to  the  different  ships 
with  appointments  as  master's  mates  in  order  that  they  would  be 
subject  to  naval  discipline,  thereby  avoiding  the  friction  always 
resulting  from  joint  naval  and  civil  enterprises  afloat.  Principal 
among  these  were  Messrs.  Heine  and  Brown,  the  water-color  artists 
whose  beautiful  pictures  so  embellish  Commodore  Perry's  report, 
and  Mr.  Bayard  Taylor,  the  "  landscape  painter  in  words. "  Be- 
sides the  specialists  a  number  of  officers  belonging  regularly  to  the 
navy  contributed  much  valuable  material  for  the  report  of  the  exped- 
ition, notable  among  these  being  Surgeon  Daniel  S.  Green  and 
Chaplain  George  Jones.  A  number  of  the  most  accurate  drawings 
relating  to  Japanese  boat  building  and  marine  affairs  published  in 
the  report,  were  made  by  Third  Assistant  Engineer  Mortimer  Kel- 
logg of  the  Powhatan. 

In  January  1854  the  squadron  again  moved  northward,  con- 
sisting of  the  steamers  JPowhatan,  Susquehanna  and  Mississippi,  and 
the  sloops-of-war  Macedonian,  Vandalia,  Plymouth  aud  Saratoga; 
the  store-ships  Supply,  Leasmgton  and  Southampton,  with  coal  and 
provisions  for  the  ships,  and  presents  for  the  Japanese  government, 
were  also  in  company.  On  the  11th  of  February  the  greater  part  of 
this  force  had  assembled  off  Yedo  Bay,  anchoring  on  the  13th  off 
Yokosuke,  where  the  great  navy  yard  of  New  Japan  is  now  located. 
The  mystery  play  began  again  by  Perry  retiring  from  public  view 
and  holding  the  visiting  officials  at  a  respectful  and  chilly  distance. 
While  the  Japanese  were  exhausting  their  efforts  to  induce  the  for- 
eigners to  go  away  and  leave  them  in  peace,  boats  were  kept  busy 
sounding  and  surveying  the  adjacent  waters  and  giving  intelligible 
names  to  the  prominent  features  of  the  region;  one  name  thus  be- 
stowed, Mississippi  Bay,  so  well  known  to  all  visitors  to  Japan,  will 
serve  for  all  time  to  perpetuate  in  a  far  country  the  name  of  the 
historical  old  steamer  whose  keel  was  the  first  of  foreign  build  to 
disturb  its  waters. 

The  following  is  a  list  of  the  officers  of  the  engineer  corps 
serving  in  this  squadron  on  the  expedition  which  is  the  principal 
subject  of  this  chapter: 






Chief  Engineer 
<c         i. 



<>         >i 


First  Assistant 


a         it 



It               II 


William  Holland- 


1.            II 



II          II 




•I          If 


George  T.  W.  Logan.. 


II          II 



•  l          If 



fl          11 



II          II 


William  Henry  King„ 

Wm.  H.  Kuthert'ord... 
George  W.  Alexander. 

Stephen  D.  Hibbert.... 
Henry  Fauth 


II           (1 



II           (t 

f  1 

Mississippi.              i 

II          11 




•1           II 



II           II 


It           II 



11           ll 


II            II 


Edward  D.  Eobie 


If            II 


II           It 



On  the  24th  of  February,  Perry,  to  convince  the  Japanese  that 
he  was  in  earnest  and  would  not  be  put  oft:,  moved  six  of  the 
ships  up  the  Bay  to  within  hearing  of  the  temple  bells  of  Yeddoand 
anchored  not  far  above  Kanagawa.  This  move  had  the  desired  ef- 
fect, for  the  Sho-gun'a  government  sent  word  in  post  haste,  "  If 
the  American  ships  come  to  Yeddo  it  will  be  a  national  disgrace. 
Stop  them,  and  make  the  treaty  at  Kanagawa. "  Yokohama,  a  small 
fishing  village  across  an  arm  of  the  bay  from  Kanagawa,  was  finally 
fixed  upon  as  the  place  for  the  negotiations  and  there  the  Japanese 
erected  the  necessary  buildings  for  the  ceremony, the  enclosure  about 
them  embracing  the  present  location  of  the  Custom  House  and 
British  Consulate  in  the  cosmopolitan  city  that  Yokohama  has  now 

On  the  8th  of  March  Perry  landed  with  five  hundred  armed 
men,  and  a  glittering  staff  of  officers  in  full  uniform,  the  same  cer- 
monial  display  and  scrupulous  etiquette  being  observed  which  had 
so  impressed  the  natives  on  the  occasion  of  his  former  visit.  The 
first  formalities  having  been  performed  with  becoming  splendor  and 


dignity,  the  discussion  of  what  was  wanted  was  conducted  more  at 
leisure,  the  remainder  of  that  month  being  thus  consumed  before  a 
treaty  was  finally  agreed  to  and  signed.  This  treaty,  which  was 
signed  on  March  31st,  conceded  little  to  the  Americans,  but  served 
as  the  thin  end  of  the  wedge  for  great  possibilities  thereafter.  By 
its  terms  the  Japanese  agreed  to  treat  kindly  shipwrecked  mariners; 
gave  permission  for  ships  to  buy  fuel,  water,  provisions,  and  other 
needed  stores,  and  specified  the  ports  of  Simoda  and  Hakodate  as 
places  where  foreign  ships  might  anchor  for  repairs  or  to  find  ref- 
uge from  storms.  Trade  in  other  than  necessary  ship  supplies  and 
permission  to  reside  in  the  country  were  refused.  These  privileges, 
together  with  many  others,  and  the  opening  of  several  treaty  ports, 
followed  in  due  time  through  the  efforts  of  other  diplomats. 

While  negotiations  were  going  on  at  Yokohama  the  great  collec- 
tion of  presents  brought  for  the  "  Emperor,"  but  by  error  given  to 
the  Sho-gun,  was  landed  and  displayed  to  the  officials  and  people. 
The  railway  track,  369  feet  in  circumference,  was  laid  by  Chief 
Engineer  Gay  of  the  Mississippi  and  on  it  the  little  locomotive  and 
car  were  daily  operated,  under  the  superintendence  of  Engineer 
Robert  Danby  of  the  same  steamer,  to  the  great  interest  and  de- 
light of  the  people.  The  telegraph  line,  a  mile  long,  was  another 
source  of  wonder  and  shrewd  investigation  on  the  part  of  the  inquis- 
itive and  intelligent  Japanese.  This  was  in  charge  of  two  telegra- 
phers named  Draper  and  Williams,  rated  as  master's  mates,  but 
was  operated  part  of  the  time  by  engineers  Alexander  and  Kobie, 
whom  Commodore  Perry  had  sent  ashore  in  New  York  in  1852  for 
a  month,  for  the  express  purpose  of  learning  telegraphy.  A  wealth 
of  other  useful  articles — stoves,  clocks,  maps,  books,  and  machinery 
of  all  kinds — were  displayed,  and  their  uses  explained,  this  exhibi- 
tion of  mechanical  appliances  did  more  to  win  the  people  over  to 
the  fact  that  it  would  be  beneficial  to  them  to  become  neighbourly 
with  other  nations  than  all  the  arguments  and  bluster  in  the  world. 
From  the  Japanese  accounts  of  this  most  important  event  in  their 
national  history,  it  appears  that  the  determining  factors  in  Perry's 
success  were  his  steamships  and  the  machinery  he  brought  with  him. 
With  a  decided  bent  for  the  mechanic  arts  themselves,  the  Japanese 
were  quick  to  see  that  the  foreigners  were  far  ahead  of  them  in  that 
respect,  and  they  were  willing  to  lay  aside  their  ideas  of  exclusive- 


ness  for  the  opportunity  of  learning  what  the  strangers  had  to  teach. 

The  world  at  large  knows  of  the  wonderful  results  which 
sprung  from  the  modest  beginning  above  outlined,  for  the  story  of 
Japan  is  the  most  marvelous  in  all  the  histories  of  the  nations.  As 
Perry  saw  Japan,  the  people  of  that  country  were  engulfed  in  the 
darkness  and  ignorance  of  a  despotism  fixed  upon  them  by  an  un- 
changing and  pitiless  feudal  domination  of  twenty  centuries  duration, 
a  condition  beside  which  the  state  of  society  existing  along  the  banks 
of  the  Khine  in  the  middle  of  the  Dark  AgeB  would  appear  enlight- 
ened by  contrast.  From  such  a  forbidding  prospect  the  mind  is 
dazed  as  it  turns  to  look  at  New  Japan  with  its  railways,  telegraph, 
post  offices,  factories,  school-houses,  and  church-steeples,  all  as  fa- 
miliar objects  to  the  people  as  they  are  to  the  dwellers  in  either 
Old  or  New  England.  The  feudal  system  abolished;  a  parliamen- 
tary form  of  government  established;  the  hundreds  of  thousands  of 
idle  and  predatory  knights  deprived  of  their  tyrannical  prerogatives 
and  transformed  into  industrious  men,  and  the  yoke  of  serfdom  re- 
moved from  the  necks  of  four-fifths  of  the  population  of  the  empire 
are  examples  of  the  miracles  that  have  been  wrought  in  that  wonder- 
ful land  within  the  memory  of  men  but  little  past  middle  age. 

Having  placed  herself  in  the  foremost  rank  of  the  civilized  na- 
tions by  making  full  use  of  the  heritage  of  the  ages  conferred  upon 
her,  Japan  has  made  herself  the  champion  of  modern  enlightenment 
and  assumed  the  task  of  breaking  down  Chinese  conservatism  and 
of  introducing  the  methods  of  Western  civilization  by  force  into  the 
greatest  and  most  obstinate  country  that  has  ever  been  a  barrier  to 
the  world's  progress.  By  availing  themselves  of  Western  discip- 
line, tactics  and  humane  methods  of  warfare  the  brave  little  Japa- 
nese have  been  able  to  prevail  against  great  numerical  odds  and  by 
a  series  of  victories,  each  more  brilliant  than  its  predecessor,  have 
proceeded  uninterruptedly  on  their  mission  of  carrying  enlightment 
and  civilization  into  the  Dark  East.  Great  as  may  be  the  victory 
to  Japan  as  a  nation,  its  moral  and  far-reaching  effects  will  be  much 
greater  for  the  well-being  of  the  world.  When  New  Japan  has 
celebrated  her  victories  and  duly  honored  her  great  captains  who 
achieved  them,  she  cannot  pay  a  more  appropriate  tribute  to  the  first 
cause  that  made  her  modern  power  possible,  than  by  erecting  on  the 
strand  at  Yokohama  a  statue  of  Matthew  C.  Perry,  looking  outward 
upon  the  water  over  which  his  steamers  brought  Western  methods 


into  Japanese  history.  And  on  the  pedestal  of  that  statue  should  be 
carved  an  image  of  a  steamship,  or  some  other  symbol  of  the  me- 
chanic arts,  as  the  true  sign  of  the  beginning  of  the  greatness  of 
New  Japan;  the  sign  by  which  she  was  conquered  and  by  which  she 
in  turn  has  conquered. 

Following  the  completion  of  negotiations  in  Japan,  Perry's 
squadron  began  to  disband,  the  Commodore  himself  proceeding  home 
by  way  of  Europe  in  a  Peninsular  and  Oriental  mail  steamer — the 
Hindustan.  The  Mississippi  left  Hong  Kong  on  the  12th  of  Sep- 
tember and  after  touching  at  Simoda  in  Japan  began  the  long  voy- 
age homeward  by  way  of  Honolulu  and  Rio  de  Janeiro.  She  ar- 
rived at  New  York  the  23d  of  April,  1855,  having  circumnavigated 
the  globe  during  her  absence  and  placed  herself  on  record  as  the 
second  steam  vessel  of  the  United  States  navy  to  do  so.  The  Sus- 
quehanna also  returned  home  by  way  of  the  Pacific  and  South  Amer- 
ica, her  arrival  in  Philadelphia  on  the  10th  of  March  giving  her  the 
honor  of  being  the  first  American  naval  steamer  to  make  a  cruise 
around  the  world. 

The  home-coming  ships  brought  with  them  many  presents,  now 
in  the  Smithsonian  Institution  at  Washington,  illustrative  of  the  skill 
of  artists  and  artisans  of  Japan,  consisting  of  bronze,  ivory,  porcelain, 
and  other  work.  More  appropriate  even  were  the  blocks  of  carved 
and  inscribed  stone  from  different  parts  of  Japan  given  for  the 
Washington  monument  and  whieh  may  now  be  seen  in  the  walls  of 
that  structure.  From  Napa  in  Kiu  Kiu  came  as  a  gift  the  large  bronze 
bell  which  for  so  many  years  has  hung  in  its  little  temple  in  the 
grounds  of  the  Naval  Academy.  The  date  of  founding  inscribed  on 
this  bell  corresponds  to  the  year  1456,  A.  D.,  and  part  of  the  in- 
scription on  it,  as  translated  by  Giro  Kunitomo,  a  Japanese  student 
at  the  academy,  reads  as  follows: 

"This  beautiful  bell  has  been  founded,  and  hung  in  the  tower 
of  the  temple.  It  will  awaken  dreams  of  superstition.  If  one  will 
bear  in  mind  to  act  rightly  and  truly,  and  the  Lords  and  the  Minis- 
ters will  do  justice  in  a  body,  the  barbarians  will  never  come  to  in- 
vade. The  sound  of  the  bell  will  convey  the  virtue  of  Fushi,  and 
will  echo  like  the  song  of  Tsuirai;  and  the  benevolence  of  the  Lords 
will  continue  forever  like  those  echoes." 

Eegardless  of  the  prediction  thus  written  in  brass,  the  barbarians 
not  only  came  but  carried  the  bell  away  with  them. 


The  Tai-ping  rebellion  being  in  progress  in  China  at  the  tim© 
now  being  dealt  with,  the  United  States  vessels  remaining  in  that 
region  were  kept  actively  employed  in  protecting  the  lives  and  prop- 
erty of  American  citizens.  Piracy  became  rampant  along  the  coasts 
and  compelled  much  dangerous  service  in  seeking  out  the  piratical 
junks  and  capturing  them  in  hand-to-hand  conflicts,  a  chartered 
steamer  of  light  draft,  named  the  Queen,  being  especially  active  in 
this  work.  Referring  to  this  disagreeable  service,  the  Secretary  of 
the  Navy  wrote  in  his  annual  report  for  1855:  "  In  these  several  en- 
counters, the  officers  and  men  have  conducted  themselves  gallantly, 
and  honorable  mention  is  made  of  Lieutenants  Pegram,  Preble,  Ro- 
lando, E.  Y.  McCauley,  and  Sproston;  Assistant  Engineers  Stamm 
and  Kellogg;  Acting  Masters'  Mates  J.  P.  Williams  and  S.  R.  Craig; 
and  Private  Benjamin  Adamson,  of  the  Marine  Corps,  who  was 
dangerously  wounded.  I  deem  this  a  proper  occasion  to  suggest  the 
purchase  or  building  of  one  or  two  steamers  of  light  draught,  to  be 
used  in  the  Chinese  rivers,  as  indispensable  for  the  protection  of  the 
immense  property  belonging  to  citizens  of  the  United  States  in 

In  July,  1855,  while  entering  the  harbor  of  Hong  Kong,  the 
Powhatan  by  accident  had  the  starboard  air-pump  machinery  so 
completely  wrecked  that  the  ship  was  seemingly  disabled  for  an  in- 
definite time.  An  international  complication  with  Spain  at  the  time 
made  it  probable  that  the  next  mail  would  bring  news  of  a  state  of 
war,  and  the  presence  of  a  Spanish  war  vessel  in  Hong  Kong  har- 
bor rendered  the  helpless  condition  of  the  Powhatan  a  source  of  most 
serious  apprehension.  In  this  emergency  Mr.  George  Sewell,  her 
chief  engineer,  rigged  up  a  connection  between  the  two  engines,  so 
that  the  port  engine  did  the  condensing  of  steam  for  the  disabled 
starboard  engine,  the  work  being  completed  within  forty-eight  hour* 
after  the  breakdown  and  the  Powhatan  made  ready  for  any  service, 
including  battle  if  necessary.  Officers  of  the  British  war-steamer 
Battler,  who  attended  a  trial  trip  to  test  the  success  of  Mr.  Sewell's 
emergency  makeshift,  remarked  that  a  chief  engineer  in  their  navy 
would  be  knighted  for  rendering  service  of  such  value  in  a  similar 
emergency.  A.n  idea  of  the  extent  of  the  difficulty  overcome  by 
this  ingenious  engineer  may  be  gained  from  the  fact  that  ten  weeks 
were  consumed  in  permanently  repairing  the  damages. 


"  Our  tall  ships  have  souls,  and  plow  with  Reason  up  the  deeps." 

Ogilbt,  Translation  of  the  Odyssey. 

End  of  the  Experimental,  and  Beginning  of  the  Creative  Period  of  the  Amer- 
ican Steam  Navy — The  Franklin — The  Mebbimao  class  of  Screw  Frigates 
— The  Niagara — Services  of  Chief  Engineer  Everett  in  connection  with 
the  Atlantic  Cable  Laid  by  the  Niagara — The  Hartford  class  of  Large 
Screw  Sloops — Mr.  Archbold  succeeds  Mr.  Martin  as  Engineer-in-Chief — 
The  Mohican  class — The  Pawnee— The  Paraguay  Expedition — Small 
Steamers  Purchased  for  the  Navy — Project  to  Convert  Old  Line-of -Battle 
Ships  into  Steam  Frigates. 

ALL  the  vessels  of  the  early  steam  period  of  our  navy  have  now 
been  described  with  the  exception  of  the  John  Hancock,  a 
small  screw-steamer  of  208  tons,  built  at  the  Boston  Navy  Yard  in 
1850,  intended  to  serve  the  double  purpose  of  a  steam  tug  and 
water-boat  for  that  station.  Her  length  was  113  feet;  breadth  of 
beam,  22  feet;  mean  draft,  8  feet.  The  machinery  was  designed 
by  Mr.  Charles  W.  Oopeland  and  built  at  the  Washington  Navy 
Yard  by  Mr.  William  M.  Ellis,  the  civilian  chief  engineer  of  the 
yard.  There  were  two  oscillating  non-condensing  cylinders,  20 
inches  in  diameter  and  21  inches  stroke,  suspended  over  the  shaft, 
and  one  iron  return-flue  boiler,  22  feet  long,  containing  28  square 
feet  of  grate  surface  and  755  square  feet  of  heating  surface.  The 
cost  of  the  vessel  was  $20,550.72,  of  which  sum  $5,622.59  was 
charged  to  the  engine  and  propeller,  and  $2,428.13  to  the  boiler 
and  fittings.  In  1851  the  Simcooh  was  used  as  a  practice  steamer 
for  midshipmen  at  the  Naval  Academy,  and  later  in  the  same  year 
made  a  short  cruise  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico. 

In  1852  she  was  hauled  into  a  ship-house  at  the  Boston  Navy 
Yard  and  remodeled,  being  cut  in  two  and  lengthened  38  feet,  the 
change  resulting  in  a  trim  bark-rigged  steamer  rated  as  of  382  tons 
burden.  The  engines  were  altered  to  low-pressure,  with  Pirsson's 
condenser,  the  stroke  of  pistons  increased  three  inches,  and  the 
boiler  replaced  by  two  of  the  Martin  vertical  water-tube  type, 
aggregating  70  square  feet  of  grate  surface  and  2,280  square  feet  of 


heating  surface.  The  alterations  in  machinery  were  made  by  Har- 
rison Loring,  Boston,  from  plans  supplied  by  Chief  Engineer  D. 
B.  Martin,  U.  S.  Navy.  When  completed,  the  new  steamer  pro- 
ceeded to  the  Pacific  Ocean  and  was  employed  for  about  three  yeara 
on  surveying  duty  in  the  North  Pacific,  Bering  and  China  seas, 
under  the  command  of  Lieutenant  John  Eodgers,  Messrs.  Elbridge 
Lawton  and  David  B.  Macomb  being  the  senior  engineers.  After 
making  a  survey  of  Bering  Sea  the  John  Hancock  was  put  out  of 
commission  at  San  Francisco  and  remained  there  as  a  receiving 
ship  or  in  ordinary  until  1865,  when  she  was  sold. 

Reference  has  already  been  made  to  the  fact  that  advocates 
of  steam  power  for  naval  purposes  were  compelled  to  face  a  most 
discouraging  argument  based  upon  the  unprotected  condition  of 
machinery  in  paddle-wheel  steamers.  Ericsson  had  proved  with 
the  Princeton  that  a  ship  could  be  driven  by  a  submerged  propel- 
ler, but  his  application  of  power  was  new,  at  least  to  the  navy,  and 
it  was  many  years  before  the  lesson  of  the  Princeton  was  accepted 
by  naval  officers  as  conclusive.  The  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Mr. 
Dobbin,  had  become  thoroughly  impressed  with  the  necessity  for 
building  up  a  steam  navy,  and  in  his  annual  report  for  1853  made 
an  urgent  appeal  to  Congress  for  authority  to  begin  the  immediate 
construction  of  six  "  first-class  steam  frigate  propellers,"  using  the 
following  argument  in  support  of  his  request : 

"  Steam  is  unquestionably  the  great  agent  to  be  used  on  the 
ocean,  as  well  for  purposes  of  war  as  of  commerce.  The  improved 
system  of  screw-propellers,  instead  of  side- wheels,  is  one  of  the 
grand  desiderata  to  render  the  use  of  steam  effective  in  naval  war- 
fare— the  one  being  exposed  to  the  shot  of  the  enemy,  the  other 
submerged  and  comparatively  secure.  When  the  bayonet  was 
added  to  the  musket  the  invention  was  applauded,  for  placing  in 
the  hands  of  the  soldier,  at  one  time,  two  engines  of  destruction/ 
and  the  introduction  of  the  screw-propeller  has  been  similarly  appre- 
ciated, as  combining,  without  confusion,  two  elements  of  progress — 
the  sail  and  the  steam-engine.  Side-wheel  steamers  are  much  im- 
paired in  their  capacity  for  sailing,  and  consume  too  much  coal  for 
distant  cruises.  Those  now  on  hand  can  be  made  to  answer  well 
for  short  cruises  and  for  despatch  vessels.  The  screw-propeller, 
being  upon  a  principle  not  so  much  interfering  with  the  sailing 




















capacity,  with  the  improved  models  of  the  present  day,  can  be  ao 
constructed  as  to  sail  as  well  as  the  best  clipper  ships,  and  reserve 
the  use  of  steam  for  emergencies  when  the  greatest  speed  is  re- 
quired, or  when,  in  a  calm,  a  desirable  position  can  be  more 
promptly  and  surely  taken.  The  great  necessary  expense  incident 
to  the  expedition  to  Japan  could  have  been  materially,  indeed,  one- 
half  curtailed,  had  it  been  in  the  power  of  the  department  to  have 
supplied  the  squadron  with  screw-propellers  instead  of  the  side- 
wheel  steamers,  now  costing  so  much  from  the  consumption  of 

In  the  same  year,  1853,  Mr.  Dobbin  had  already  begun  one 
Bcrew  frigate  by  using  his  authority  to  repair  old  vessels,  the  one 
selected  being  the  old  ship-of-the-line  Franklin,  lying  at  the  Kit- 
tery  Navy  Yard.  Orders  were  issued  to  repair  this  ship  and  make 
such  changes  in  her  model  as  would  fit  her  for  a  first-class  steam 
frigate.  The  old  ship  Franklin  was  built  in  1815  at  Philadelphia, 
and  was  188  feet  long  and  50  feet  beam.  The  new  FrankUn,  as 
finished,  was  265  feet  long  on  the  load  water-line,  and  53  feet  8 
inches  beam,  dimensions  so  entirely  different  from  those  of  the 
original  ship  that  the  process  of  repairing  evidently  amounted  in 
reality  to  building  an  entirely  new  hull  out  of  the  old  material.  As 
the  amount  of  money  available  each  year  for  repairs  was  small, 
work  on  the  Franklin  progressed  slowly,  and  it  was  ten  years  be- 
fore the  condition  of  the  hull  warranted  a  contract  for  machinery, 
which  will  be  described  later  in  proper  chronological  order. 

The  recommendation  of  the  department  regarding  steam  frig- 
ates was  favorably  received  by  Congress,  and  a  few  months  later 
an  act,  approved  April  6,  1854,  authorized  the  Secretary  of  the 
Navy  to  have  constructed  "  six  first-class  steam  frigates  to  be  pro- 
vided with  screw  propellers. "  These  ships  were  all  built  by  the 
Government  at  navy  yards  as  follows  :  The  Merrirnac  at  Boston; 
the  Wabash  at  Philadelphia;  the  Minnesota  at  Washington;  the 
Roanoke  and  Colorado  at  Norfolk,  and  the  Niagara  at  New  York. 
The  three  first  named  were  launched  in  1855  and  the  three  others 
early  in  1856,  they  being,  when  completed,  the  superiors  of  any 
war  vessels  then  possessed  by  any  nation  in  the  world.  When  the 
first  of  them  went  abroad  they  became  objects  of  admiration  and 
envy  to  the  naval  architects  of  Europe,  and  their  type  was  quickly 


copied  into  other  navies,  notably  that  of  England,  which  imitated 
their  construction  in  the  Orlando,  Mersey,  and  others  of  that  class. 

Just  at  that  period  the  American  ship-building  industry  had 
reached  its  highest  development;  our  architects  had  attained  a  skill 
in  their  profession  which  made  their  work  famous  throughout  the 
world,  and  lent  to  the  word  American,  when  applied  to  ships,  a 
peculiar  significance,  always  an  accepted  guarantee  of  excellence. 
Some  of  the  most  eminent  of  the  American  ship- builders  were 
members  of  the  naval  construction  corps,  which  then  included  such 
men  as  Mr.  Lenthal,  the  chief  constructor  of  the  navy;  the  two 
Delanos;  Messrs.  Pook  and  Hanscom,  and  several  others,  all 
famous  in  their  line.  To  these  gentlemen  the  navy  was  indebted 
for  the  designs  which  made  our  new  ships  the  admiration  of  the 
world,  and  so  elevated  the  standard  and  reputation  of  the  American 
navy  that  every  officer  and  man  felt  an  accession  of  pride  at  being 
part  of  such  an  organization. 

The  first  five  of  the  ships  named  were  frigate-built,  with  steam 
power  that  was  merely  auxiliary.  They  were  full  ship-rigged,  the 
area  of  the  ten  principal  sails  being  about  thirty-two  times  the  im- 
mersed midship  section,  which  ratio  is  only  slightly  less  than  that 
observed  in  the  practice  of  rigging  sailing  frigates.  They  were  built 
of  seasoned  live-oak  frames  in  stock  in  the  navy  yards  and  originally 
intended  for  use  in  old  style  sailing  ships,  an  adaptation  of  material 
that  exercised  a  controlling  influence  on  the  lines  of  the  new  ships 
from  the  necessity  of  so  shaping  them  that  the  supply  of  frame  tim- 
bers could  be  worked  up  without  waste.  The  results,  however,  were 
entirely  satisfactory  as  the  ships  proved  to  be  fast  and  handy  under 
sail  alone,  and  their  steam  power  was  sufficient  for  the  purpose  in- 
tended— to  steam  in  and  out  of  port  or  across  calm  belts,  and  to  lend 
additional  manceuvering  qualities  in  storms  and  battle. 1 

'Speaking  of  the  building  of  these  ships,  the  late  Rear  Admiral  Edward  Simp- 
son, in  an  article  published  in  Harper's  Magazine,  June,  1886,  says:  "There  were 
those  at  that  time  who,  wise  beyond  their  generation,  recognized  the  full  meaning  of 
the  advent  of  steam,  and  saw  that  it  must  supplant  sails  altogether  as  a  motive 
power  for  ships.  These  advocated  that  new  constructions  should  be  provided  with 
full  steam-power,  with  sails  as  an  auxiliary;  but  the  old  pride  in  the  sailing  ship, 
with  her  taut  and  graceful  spars,  could  not  be  made  to  yield  at  onoe  to  the  innovation; 
old  traditions  pointing  to  the  necessity  of  full  sail-power  could  not  be  dispelled;  it  was 
considered  a  sufficient  concession  to  admit  steam  on  any  terms,  and  thus  the  conser- 
vative and  temporizing  course  was  adopted  of  retaining^full  sail-power,  and  utilizing 
steam  as  an  auxiliary." 



































— * 















































Of  these  vessels  the  Merrimack  (or  Merrimac,  as  the  name  is 
usually  spelled),  was  the  type,  the  others  being  only  slight  modifi- 
cations of  the  original.  The  Wabash  and  Minnesota  differed  only 
from  the  Merrimac  in  having  a  few  feet  more  length  inserted  amid- 
ships to  give  additional  space  for  machinery  and  fuel,  while  the 
Roanoke  and  Colorado^  exact  duplicates  of  each  other,  differed  from 
the  others  mainly  in  having  about  one  foot  more  beam.  The  follow- 
ing table  shows  the  principal  dimensions  of  these  frigates  as  origi- 
nally built,  from  which  the  points  of  difference  may  be  readily  traced: 







264. 8  J 

263. 8£ 










Length  on  load  water  line,  feet 
and  inches... 

Beam  on  same 

Area  of  immersed  midship  sec- 
tion, square  feet. 

Displacement  at  load  water  line, 


263. 8* 



The  Merrimac  had  two  horizontal  back-acting  engines,  the  cyl- 
inders being  on  opposite  sides  of  the  ship  and  located  at  diagonally 
opposite  corners  of  a  rectangle  circumscribing  the  engines,  the  jet 
condenser,  air  pump  and  hot- well  of  one  cylinder  being  by  the  side 
of  the  other  cylinder,  the  two  piston  rods  of  each  cylinder  striding 
the  crank  shaft.  The  cylinders  were  72  inches  in  diameter  by  3  feet 
stroke  of  piston  and  were  designed  to  make  about  45  double  strokes 
per  minute.  A  three-ported  slide  valve  placed  horizontally  on  top 
of  the  cylinder  and  actuated  by  a  rock-shaft  was  used,  expansion 
being  obtained  by  the  use  of  an  independent  cut-off  valve  of  the 
gridiron  type.  There  were  four  4-furnace  Martin's  vertical  water- 
tube  boilers  of  iron,  except  the  tubes  which  were  brass;  the  grate 
surface  of  all  boilers  was  333. 5  square  feet  and  total  heating  surface 
12,537  square  feet.  The  single  smoke-pipe  was  8  feet  in  diameter, 
telescopic  to  avoid  spoiling  the  appearance  of  the  ship  while  in  port, 
and  stood  65  feet  above  the  grate  bars.  Each  boiler  had  a  system 
of  brass  tubes  underneath  for  a  feed-water  heater,  the  feed  water  be- 
ing pumped  through  the  tubes  which  were  kept  hot  by  the  supersalted 


water  being  constantly  blown  off  to  keep  down  the  saturation,  ac- 
cording to  the  practice  of  those  days.  The  propeller  was  a  two- 
bladed  Griffith's  screw  of  bronze  with  spherical  hub  and  blades,  ad- 
justable to  different  pitches,  the  mean  pitch  being  25  feet,  and  di- 
ameter of  the  screw  17  feet  4  inches.  This  machinery  was  designed 
by  the  contractor,  Mr.  Eobert  P.  Parrot  and  built  at  his  works  at 
Cold  Springs,  New  York,  under  the  inspection  of  Chief  Engineer 
Wm.  H.  Shock,  TJ.  S.  Navy,  who  subsequently  superintended  its 
erection  on  board  the  vessel  at  Boston. 

The  maximum  performance  of  the  Men'vmao  in  smooth  water 
under  steam  alone  is  shown  by  the  following  figures: 

Speed  in  knots  per  hour 8.87 

Revolutions  of  screw  per  minute 46. 7 

Steam  cut  off  in  fraction  of  stroke 0.3 

Steam  pressure  in  boilers  in  pounds  above  atmos- 
phere   13.5 

Vacuum  (mean)  in  inches  of  mercury 24. 5 

Total  horse-power  developed  by  engines 1,294.4 

Pounds  of  coal  per  hour  by  square  foot  of  grate..  12.74 

Pounds  of  coal  per  hour  per  horse-power 3.28 

An  abstract  of  the  log  of  the  Merrvmac  when  under  steam 
alone  and  in  all  conditions  of  wind  and  weather  shows  an  average 
Bpeed  of  5.25  knots;  36.5  revolutions  per  minute;  12.8  average 
Bteam  pressure;  20.4  average  vacuum,  and  a  consumption  of  3,400 
pounds  of  anthracite  coal  per  hour.  A  similar  set  of  averages  under 
steam  and  sail  combined  shows  7.67  knots;  39.3  revolutions;  12.5 
steam  pressure;  21  inches  of  vacuum,  and  3,392  pounds  of  coal  per 

The  Merrvmac  was  put  in  commission  in  December,  1855, 
under  the  command  of  Captain  F.  H.  Gregory,  Mr.  Shock  being  the 
chief  engineer,  and  for  a  few  months  was  on  special  duty  on  the 
home  coast,  going  later  to  Europe  where  she  visited  Southampton, 
Brest,  Lisbon,  Toulon,  and  other  naval  stations,  exciting  every- 
where the  admiration  of  naval  experts,  for  she  is  said  to  have  been 
the  most  beautiful  of  all  the  ships  of  her  class.  In  1857  she  went 
to   the  Pacific  as  the  flagship  and  remained  on  that  station   until 


1860,  her  chief  engineer  being  first  Mr.  E.  H.  Long  and  afterward 
Mr.  Alban  0.  Stimers.  In  1860  she  returned  home  and  was  laid 
up  at  the  Norfolk  navy  yard  for  extensive  repairs  to  her  machinery, 
which  was  very  unsatisfactory.  Mr.  Charles  H.  Loring,  engineer- 
in-chief  of  the  navy  a  few  years  since,  who  was  the  first  assistant 
engineer  of  the  Merrimac  during  the  whole  period  of  her  service,  has 
written  the  author  regarding  her  machinery,  that  the  steam  log  books 
of  the  cruise.  "  contained  a  record  of  efforts  to  overcome  inherent 
defects  of  design,  and  of  experimental  work  in  different  directions, 
that  would  be  interesting  even  now,  despite  its  being  very  ancient 
history. ' '  The  arrival  of  this  ship  at  Norfolk  concluded  her  active 
career  in  the  United  States  navy;  later  chapters  dealing  with  the 
Civil  War  will  relate  the  circumstances  of  her  loss  to  the  govern- 
ment, and  her  career  in  the  hands  of  her  captors. 

The  Wabash  had  two  horizontal  condensing  cylinders  72  inches 
in  diameter  by  3  feet  stroke,  motion  being  communicated  from  the 
piston  rods  to  the  crank  by  means  of  a  yoke  or  harp,  the  once  pop- 
ular steeple-engine  form  of  connection;  the  piston  rods  were  secur- 
ed to  the  large  end  of  the  harp,  from  the  opposite,  or  small  end  of 
which  the  connecting  rod  reached  backward,  the  crank  revolving 
inside  the  larger  part  of  the  harp,  the  bottom  of  the  large  end  of 
the  harp  was  fitted  with  a  shoe  which  rode  back  and  forth  on  a 
guide-plate.  A  jet  condenser  was  employed.  The  steam  valves, 
operated  by  a  Stevenson  link  from  a  rock  shaft,  were  flat  slide 
valves  with  independent  cut-off  valves  on  the  back  of  each;  these 
latter  were  operated  by  separate  eccentrics  and  consisted  in  each 
case  of  two  blocks  or  plates  adjustable  by  right  and  left  hand  screws, 
being  in  short,  the  well-known  Meyer  expansion  valve,  which  from 
this  application  of  it  came  to  be  generally  known  in  our  navy  as  the 
' '  Wabash  valve. ' '  The  boilers  were  the  same  in  number  and  type 
as  those  of  the  M&rrimao,  differing  slightly  in  outside  dimensions 
but  containing  five  furnaces  instead  of  four,  the  grate  area  of  each 
furnace  being  proportionately  smaller  and  the  total  grate  area 
practically  the  same.  The  same  type  of  feed- water  heater  was  used. 
The  propeller  was  a  two-bladed  true  screw  of  brass,  17  feet  £  inches 
in  diameter  and  23  feet  pitch,  made  to  disconnect  and  hoist  up  in  a 
well  in  the  stern.  This  machinery  was  built  by  Merrick  &  Sons, 
Philadelphia,  from  their  own  designs  and  was  superintended  while 
under  construction  by  Chief  Engineer  James  W  King,  U.  S.  Navy. 



The  Wabash  was  first  commissioned  in  August,  1856,  and 
served  as  the  flagship  of  Commodore  Hiram  Paulding  on  the  home 
station  for  about  two  years,  then  going  to  the  Mediterranean  with 
the  flag  of  Commodore  Lavallette,  Mr.  King  being  the  first  chief' 
engineer  and  Benjamin  F.  Garvin  the  second.  She  returned  home 
in  1859  and  remained  in  ordinary  until  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil 
War,  when  she  was  put  in  commission  and  saw  much  active  service, 
as  outlined  in  the  appendix. 

The  Minnesota's  engines  were  built  at  the  Washington  Navy 
Yard  from  designs  prepared  by  Engineer-in-Chief  D.  B.  Martin, 
and  furnish  a  third  example  of  the  engine  practice  of  that  day. 
There  were  two  horizontal  cylinders  of  the  Penn  trunk  type,  79£ 
inches  in  diameter  and  3  feet  stroke,  the  trunks  being  33  inches  in 
diameter.  Unlike  the  usual  Penn  design,  these  engines  had  a  sep- 
arate slide  valve  for  the  cut-off  valve,  placed  in  advance  of  the 
main  steam  valve  and  working  upon  a  fixed  seat  of  its  own.  The 
steam  valves  were  ordinary  double-ported  slides  operated  by  link 
motion  and  located  on  the  sides  of  the  cylinders  with  faces  vertical, 
while  the  cut-off  valves  were  above  them  and  horizontal,  thus  en- 
tailing the  disadvantage  of  leaving  a  considerable  space  filled  with 
steam  after  the  cut-offs  had  closed.  The  boilers  were  in  all  respects 
duplicates  of  the  Martin  boilers  described  in  the  case  of  the  Merri- 
mac,  and  the  propeller  was  exactly  the  same  as  that  of  the  Wabash. 
The  first  service  of  the  Minnesota  was  on  the  East  India  station  in 
1857-58  and  '59  under  the  command  of  Captain  S.  DuPont,  the 
Mississippi  being  the  flagship  of  that  squadron  at  the  time. 

The  engines,  boilers  and  screws  of  the  Roanoke  and  Colorado 
were  in  all  respects  the  precise  duplicates  of  those  of  the  Minnesota, 
the  machinery  complete  for  both  ships  being  built  by  Anderson, 
Dulany  &  Co. ,  (Tredegar  Iron  Works),  Richmond,  Virginia,  under 
the  superintendence  of  Chief  Engineer  W.  W.  W.  Wood,  U.  S. 
Navy.  The  Colorado  was  prepared  for  sea  when  completed  in 
1857,  but  did  very  little  service  besides  steaming  to  Boston,  where 
she  was  laid  up,  before  the  beginning  of  the  war.  The  Roanoke 
was  flagship  of  the  home  squadron  in  1858,  1859,  and  the  first 
months  of  1860,  then  being  put  out  of  commission  and  laid  up  until 
the  war  made  her  services  again  necessary.  A  dearth  of  enlisted 
men,  and  the  increased  cost  of  maintaining  the  steam  frigates  in 

Q  a 

W  a 

^  J* 

a  9= 



comparison  with  the  cost  of  keeping  sailing  frigates  in  commission, 
were  the  reasons  for  the  non-employment"  of  these  fine  ships. 

The  Niagara  is  generally  spoken  of  as  a  frigate,  having  been 
associated  in  building  with  the  Merrvmac  class,  but  was  in  fact  an 
exceedingly  large  sloop-of-war  and  not  a  frigate  at  all.  The  idea 
of  speed  was  entertained  in  her  case,  and  Mr.  George  Steers,  an 
eminent  ship-builder  of  New  York,  who  had  acquired  fame  as  a  de- 
signer of  swift  clipper-ships  and  yachts1  was  called  upon  for  pro- 
fessional aid.  Mr.  Steers  was  given  a  temporary  appointment  as 
naval  constructor,  and  during  the  two  years  he  held  that  office  he 
designed  the  Niagara  and  superintended  her  construction  in  the 
New  York  Navy  Yard.  The  hull  was  designed  with  very  sharp 
lines  for  speed,  and  her  constructor  was  not  restricted  by  any  at- 
tempt to  accommodate  her  model  to  the  shape  of  frame  timbers  on 
hand;  speed  under  sail  was  the  primary  quality  sought,  but  speed 
under  steam  was  not  neglected,  about  fifty  per  cent,  more  power 
being  provided  than  in  the  case  of  frigates.  The  dimensions  of  the 
vessel  were  unusually  large  for  the  time,  length  on  the  load  water- 
line  being  328  feet  10^  inches;  breadth  at  same,  55  feet;  displace- 
ment, 5,540  tons,  and  registered  tonnage  (old  measurement),  4,580. 

The  Niagara's  engines  consisted  of  three  horizontal  direct- 
acting  cylinders  72  inches  in  diameter  and  3  feet  stroke,  fitted  with 
independent  gridiron  slide  cut-off  valves  and  jet  condensers.  The 
boilers  were  of  the  Martin  type,  the  same  as  used  in  the  five  frig- 
ates, but  were  considerably  larger,  having  six  furnaces  each  and 
about  fifty  per  cent,  more  grate  and  heating  surface.  No  heating 
apparatus  for  feed-water  was  supplied.  There  were  two  telescopic 
smoke-pipes,  and  the  propeller  was  of  the  same  hoisting  type  used 
on  the  frigates.  The  machinery  was  designed  and  built  by  Pease 
&  Murphy  (Fulton  Iron  Works),  New  York,  its  construction  being 
under  the  direction  of  Chief  Engineer  William  H.  Everett,  who  also 
had  charge  of  the  work  of  installing  it  in  the  vessel.  The  maximum 
speed  in  smooth  water  under  steam  alone  was  found  to  be  10.9 
knots,  and  the  average  sea  speed  under  steam  and  sail  with  varying 
conditions  of  weather,  was  8. 5  knots. 

1  Mr.  Steers  designed  and  built  the  famous  yacht  America,  which  won  the 
Queen's  cup  in  the  regatta  at  Cowes,  England,  in  1851. 


The  Niagara  was  put  in  commission  in  the  spring  of  1857 
under  command  of  Captain  Hudson,  Mr.  Everett  being  her  chief 
engineer,  and  proceeded  to  England  in  April  to  undertake  the  work 
of  laying  the  first  Atlantic  cable.  One-half  the  cable  (about  1,250 
miles)  was  put  in  the  hold  of  the  Niagara  and  the  other  half  in  H. 
M.  S.  Agamemnon,  the  two  ships  leaving  Valencia,  Ireland,  Aug- 
ust 7th,  1857,  the  Niagara  paying  out  her  part  of  the  cable.  The 
IT.  S.  S.  Susquehanna  accompanied  the  expedition  to  lend  assistance 
if  needed.  Four  days  after  leaving  Ireland  the  cable  broke  through 
defects  in  the  paying-out  machinery  and  the  enterprise  was  aban- 
doned for  that  year,  the  Niagara  returning  home.  Chief  Engineer 
Everett  had  detected  the  faults  in  the  cable  machinery  and  submitted 
plans  to  remedy  them  which  were  considered  so  excellent  that  at  the 
request  of  the  cable  company  he  was  detached  from  the  Niagara 
and  granted  leave  of  absence  with  permission  to  go  to  England  to 
direct  the  construction  of  the  mechanism  proposed  by  him.  In 
March,  1858,  the  Niagara  returned  to  England  and  with  the 
Agamemnon  proceeded  to  the  middle  of  the  ocean,  from  whence 
each  vessel  started  homeward,  each  paying  out  her  section  of  the 
cable,  Mr.  Everett  in  his  capacity  of  superintendent  for  the 
cable  company  directing  the  work  from  the  Niagara.  After  a 
delay  of  about  a  month  occasioned  by  a  break  in  the  Agamemnon's 
section  three  days  after  the  work  was  begun,  the  ships  had  no 
further  trouble  and  landed  their  ends  of  the  cable  successfully,  the 
Niagara  at  Trinity  Bay,  Newfoundland,  and  the  Agamemnon  at 
Valencia,  Ireland. 

The  engineers  of  the  Niagara  on  this  noteworthy  voyage  were, 
Joshua  Follansbee,  chief;  John  Faron  and  fm.  S.  Stamm,  first 
assistants;  George  K.  Johnson  and  Mortimer  Kellogg,  second  as- 
sistants, and  Jackson  McElmell,  George  F.  Kutz,  and  Wm.  G. 
Buehler,  third  assistants.  They  all  received  gold  medals  from  the 
Chamber  of  Commerce  of  the  city  of  New  York  in  commemoration 
of  the  event.  Chief  Engineer  Wm.  H.  Everett,  whose  genius  made 
the  undertaking  successful,  is  said  to  have  received  $25,000  from 
the  cable  company  for  his  services.  After  operating  for  two  weeks 
and  transmitting  about  four  hundred  messages,  the  cable  ceased 
working  on  account  of  defective  insulation,  and  was  not  replaced 
until  1866  when  a  much  larger  and  better  made  cable  was  laid  by 


the  Great  Eastern,  that  vessel  having  failed  in  an  attempt  the  year 
before.  After  laying  the  cable  in  1858  the  Niagara  spent  the  re- 
mainder of  that  year  in  a  task  which  was  neither  agreeable  or 
glorious.  To  meet  a  demand  of  public  sentiment  she  was  freighted 
with  nearly  three  hundred  destitute  and  savage  negroes,  who  had 
been  taken  from  a  slaver  named  the  Echo  off  the  coast  of  Cuba, 
and  transported  them  to  Liberia  on  the  west  coast  of  Africa.  Many 
•of  the  negroes  died  on  the  voyage  and  the  whole  experience  with 
them  was  intensely  distasteful,  and  disagreeable. 

In  1860  the  Niagara  conveyed  to  Japan  by  way  of  the  Cape  of 
Good  Hope  the  embassy  which  had  been  sent  to  the  United  States 
by  the  Sho-gun  of  that  country.  The  Civil  War  brought  her  home 
the  next  year  and  after  undergoing  extensive  repairs  she  was  sent  on 
special  service  to  Europe,  her  great  size  rendering  her  unfit  for 
hostile  operations  along  the  insurgent  coasts.  The  capture  of  the 
Confederate  privateer  Georgia  in  August,  1864,  and  refusing  battle 
with  the  iron-clad  ram  Stonewall  off  the  port  of  Coruna  in  April, 
1865,  were  the  chief  incidents  of  this  cruise,  which  was  the  Niaga- 
ra's last.  At  the  close  of  the  war  she  was  laid  up  in  Boston 
and  remained  there  until  condemned  and  sold  in  1885.  In  1871-'72 
the  work  of  remodeling  and  repairing  her  was  prosecuted  for  a  time, 
but  eventually  abandoned. 

A  resolution  of  Congress,  approved  February  3,  1855,  author- 
ized the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  "  to  provide  and  despatch  a  suitable 
naval,  or  other  steamer,  and,  if  necessary,  a  tender,  to  the  Arctic 
seas  for  the  purpose  of  rescuing  or  affording  relief  to  Passed  Assist- 
ant Surgeon  E.  K.  Kane,  of  the  United  States  Navy,  and  the  officers 
and  men  under  his  command."  This  resolution  added  one  small 
vessel  to  the  steam  navy,  the  Arctic,  purchased  in  1855  and  which 
rendered  most  efficient  service  and  made  the  relief  expedition  suc- 
cessful through  her  ability  as  a  steamer  to  "  bore  "  through  the  ice- 
pack of  Baffin's  Bay.  Lieutenant  H.  J.  Hartstene  in  the  bark  He- 
lease  commanded  the  expedition  and  succeeded  after  many  trials  and 
hardships  in  finding  Dr.  Kane  and  brought  him  and  his  party  safely 
home.  The  officers  volunteered  for  this  service  from  the  navy 
that  being  a  requirement  imposed  by  the  congressional  resolution, 
the  only  one  now  believed  to  be  living,  being  Rear  Admiral  Joseph 
Fyffe,  1  who  was  a  passed  midshipman  in  the  Release.  First  Assist- 

1  Since  deceased. 


ant  Engineer  Harman  Newell  and  Acting  Third  Assistant  Engineer 
Wm,  Johnson  went  in  the  Arctic.  In  1859  the  Arctic's  machinery- 
was  removed  and  the  hall  transferred  to  the  light  honse  board  for 
a  light-ship. 

In  the  year  1855  also  a  somewhat  larger  screw  steamer,  the 
Despatch  was  purchased  and  sent  to  the  Pensacola  navy  yard  as  a 
tender  for  that  station,  her  tonnage  being  558  and  cost  $139,088.17. 
In  1859  she  was  rebuilt  at  the  Norfolk  navy  yard  and  enlarged  to 
694  tons,  the  name  being  at  that  time  changed  to  Pocahontas,  under 
which  she  performed  much  valuable  service  during  the  rebellion. 

By  an  act  of  Congress  approved  March  3,  1857,  authority  was 
given  for  the  immediate  construction  of  five  large  screw  sloops-of- 
war,  the  general  size  or  class  of  the  vessels  being  specified  by  the 
act.  Four  of  them  were  at  once  placed  under  construction  as  fol- 
lows: The  Pensacola  at  Pensacola;  the  Lancaster  at  Philadelphia; 
the  Hartford  at  Boston ;  and  the  Richmond  at  Norfolk.  In  order  to 
incite  a  healthful  rivalry  between  the  naval  constructors  and  civilian 
ship-builders  it  was  decided  to  commit  the  building  of  the  fifth  sloop 
wholly  to  private  enterprise,  and  advertisements  were  accordingly 
issued  for  competitive  plans  and  specifications.  Thirteen  proposals 
were  received  in  response,  from  which  a  board  of  officers  selected 
the  one  submitted  by  Mr.  Jacob  Westervelt  of  New  York,  to  whom 
a  contract  was  awarded.  The  vessel  thus  brought  into  existence 
was  the  Brooklyn,  the  hull  of  which  was  built  by  Mr.  Westervelt 
under  the  superintendence  of  Naval  Constructor  S.  H.  Pook,  and 
the  machinery  by  sub-contract  by  the  Fulton  Iron  Works,  superin- 
tended by  Chief  Engineer  D.  B.  Martin,  U.  S.  Navy. 

Mr.  Martin  was  the  engineer- in-chief  of  the  navy  for  a  full  term 
of  four  years  beginning  October  18,  1853,  and  was  known  as  a 
thoroughly  capable  and  painstaking  engineer,  familiar  with  the 
many  branches  of  his  calling  so  far  as  they  were  developed  in  his 
time.  He  was  the  inventor  of  the  vertical  water-tube  boiler  which 
for  many  years  was  the  type  of  excellence  in  marine  boiler  work 
and  was  an  improvement  over  the  flue  boilers  that  immed- 
iately preceded  it.  After  being  succeeded  at  the  expiration  of  hia 
term  of  office  as  engineer-in-chief  by  Chief  Engineer  Samuel  Arch- 
bold,  Mr.  Martin  performed  duty  as  inspector  of  machinery  for  the 
Brooklyn,  and  as  general  inspector  for  some  smaller  sloops  built 

Chief  engineer  daniel  b.  martin,  u.  s.  navy; 
Engineer-in  Chief  of  the  Navy  from  October  18,  1853,  to  October  17,  1857. 


later,  as  well  as  serving  on  boards  for  the  selection  of  types  of  new 
vessels  authorized.     He  resigned  from  the  service  in  1859  and,  like 
many  other  men  who  have  occupied  important  public  offices,  ex- 
pressed his  weariness  with  the  thankless  world's  work  by  returning 
to  his  native  place  and  taking  up  the  peaceful  occupation  of  farmer. 
The  Brooklyn  was  233  feet  long  on  the  load  water  line;  43 
feet  beam;  2,686  tons  displacement,  and  of  2,070  tons  burden.   Her 
machinery   consisted   of  two  horizontal  direct-acting  cylinders  61 
inches  in  diameter  by  33  inches  stroke.      The  steam  valve  was  a 
three-ported  slide  fitted  with  the  Meyer  cut-off  blocks  on  its  back. 
A  jet  condenser  was  used.     There  were  two  Martin  boilers  with 
seven  furnaces  each,  aggregating  250  square  feet  of  grate  surface 
and  7,788  square  feet  of  heating  surface,  fitted  with  one  telescopic 
smoke-pipe  7  feet  in  diameter  and  50  feet  high  above  the  grate  bars. 
The  propeller  was  a  two-bladed  hoisting  screw,  14^  feet  in  diameter 
and  24. 7  feet  mean  pitch.     The  total  weight  of  machinery  was  240 
tons  and  of  water  in  boilers,  64  tons.     The  vessel  was  completed  in 
little  more  than  a  year  after  the  date  of  contract  and  exhibited  a 
speed  of  9.2  knots  under  steam  alone  in  smooth  water,  with  51  rev- 
olutions of  the  screw,    18  pounds  steam  pressure,   27    inches   of 
vacuum,  878  developed  horse-power,  and  3.2  pounds  of  anthracite 
coal  consumed  per  hour,  per  horse  power.     Her  first  service  was  in 
the  home  squadron  in  1859-'60,'61. 

The  Hartford,  built  at  the  Boston  Navy  Yard,  was  slightly 
smaller  than  the  Brooklyn,  her  principal  factors  being  length,  225 
feet;  beam,  44  feet;  tonnage  (old)  1,900,  and  displacement,  2,550. 
Her  machinery  was  built  by  Loring  &  Coney,  Boston,  under  the 
supervision  of  Chief  Engineer  Jesse  Gay,  U.  S.  Navy,  and  con- 
sisted of  a  direct-acting  two-cylinder  jet  condensing  engine  with 
cylinders  62  inches  in  diameter  by  34  inches  stroke,  and  two  Mar- 
tin boilers  with  253  square  feet  of  grate  surface  and  7,600  square 
feet  of  heating  surface.  The  screw  was  of  bronze,  two-bladed,  14 
feet  diameter  and  25  feet  pitch.  This  was  replaced  in  1880  by  a 
more  efficient  four-bladed  screw  and  the  original  one  diverted  to  a 
lasting  and  appropriate  use  by  being  melted  and  cast  into  the  statue 
of  Admiral  Farragut,  which  stands  in  Farragut  Square,  Washington, 
D.  C.  The  Hartford  was  launched  early  in  1859  and  commissioned 
for  sea  the  following  summer,  going  to  the  East  India  station  to  re- 


lieve  the  Mississippi  as  flagship.  Her  maximum  speed  under  steam 
alone  in  smooth  water  was  found  to  be  9.5  knots,  an  average  sea 
performance  with  sail  and  steam,  7.3  knots.  In  1880  the  Hartford 
was  fitted  with  new  machinery,  the  engines  put  in  being  a  pair  of 
the  60"x36"  Isherwood  engines  built  by  Harrison  Loring  during  the 
war  for  a  sloop  that  was  never  finished — the  Kewaydin. 

The  Lancaster  was  the  largest  of  the  ships  of  her  class,  being 
235  feet  8  inches  long,  46  feet  beam,  3,290  tons  displacement,  and 
2,362  registered  tonnage.  Her  machinery  was  built  by  Reanie  & 
Neafie,  Philadelphia,  Under  the  inspection  of  Chief  Engineer  W. 
W.  W.  Wood,  the  engines  and  attachments  being  exactly  like  those 
for  the  Brooklyn.  The  boilers  were  of  the  same  type,  but  about 
twelve  per  cent,  larger  in  grate  and  heating  surface  than  those  of 
the  Brooklyn.  The  contract  price  for  the  Lancaster's  machinery 
complete,  was  $137,500.  Like  the  Sort  ford,  she  was  eventually 
fitted  with  a  pair.of  the  60"x36"  Isherwood  engines,  built  during  the 
war.  In  1879-80  the  hull  was  thoroughly  overhauled  and  remod- 
eled with  a  ram-bow,  making  her  a  formidable  appearing  craft  for 
our  navy  at  that  time.  The  Lancaster  was  launched  in  1858  and 
went  the  following  year  to  the  Pacific  station,  where  she  remained 
as  flagship  until  1867,  thus  being  deprived  of  an  active  part  in  the 
Civil  War,  in  which  her  sister  ships  achieved  so  much  glory. 

The  Richmond  was  built  at  the  Norfolk  Navy  Yard  and  her  ma- 
chinery at  the  Washington  Navy  Yard,  the  latter  being  designed  by 
Mr.  Archbold,  the  engineer-in- chief.  The  principal  dimensions  of 
the  vessel  were:  Length,  225  feet;  beam,  42  feet;  displacement, 
2,604  tons,  and  registered  tonnage  1,929.  The  machinery  con- 
sisted of  a  two- cylinder  direct- acting  engine  with  cylinders  58  inches 
in  diameter  and  36  inches  stroke  of  piston,  fitted  with  single  poppet 
valves  and  Sickles'  cut-offs.  The  use  of  the  poppet  valves  was 
forced  upon  the  department  by  the  political  influence  of  two  civilians 
who  at  that  time  had  a  contract  for  directing  the  construction  of 
machinery  for  the  Pensacola,  and  was  found  to  be  decidedly  harm- 
ful to  the  efficiency  of  the  ship.  Much  of  the  lighter  engine  work, 
pipe  fittings,  attachments,  etc. ,  was  done  at  the  Norfolk  Navy  Yard, 
but  all  the  heavy  work  was  done  at  Washington.  In  1866,  as  soon 
as  she  could  be  spared  from  active  service,  the  Richmond  was  fitted 
with  a  pair  of  the  60vvx36"  Isherwood  engines  built  expressly  for  her 





at  the  Washington  Navy  Yard  during  the  three  preceding  years. 
The  Richmond  was  not  launched  until  1860,  and  in  the  latter  part 
of  that  year  went  to  the  Mediterranean  as  flagship  of  the  station; 
recalled  by  the  outbreak  of  the  rebellion  the  next  year,  she  joined 
the  West  Gulf  blockading  squadron,  and  was  a  conspicuous  factor 
in  the  varied  operations  which  made  Farragut  famous. 

The  last  of  these  five  ships,  the  Pensacola,  brought  into  the 
field  of  naval  contention  a  new  and  unique  character  in  the  person 
of  Mr.  Edward  N.  Dickerson,  who  made  the  engineering  life  of  the 
Navy  Department  exceedingly  interesting  for  a  number  of  years  and 
enriched  the  annals  of.seientific  experiment  not  a  little,  by  injecting 
an  element  of  novelty  and  humor  into  otherwise  dry  and  technical 
matters.  The  Pensacola  was  built  at  the  navy  yard,  Pensacola, 
Florida,  and  was  230  feet  8  inches  in  length;  44  feet  6  inches  beam; 
3,000  tons  displacement,  and  2,158  measured  tonnage.  Her  greater 
displacement  than  the  other  ships  of  practically  the  same  dimensions 
was  due  to  the  fact,  that  the  machinery  as  originally  installed 
weighed  540  tons,  while  that  of  the  Hartford  weighed  only  200 
tons,  and  of  the  larger  Lancaster  246£  tons.  This  machinery  was 
built  at  the  Washington  Navy  Yard  by  the  Government  from  the 
designs,  and  under  the  supervision  of  two  civilians,  Messrs.  Sickles 
and  Dickerson. 

Mr.  Frederick  E.  Sickles  was  an  inventor  and  engineer  of 
ability  and  experience;  he  was  the  inventor  of  a  cut-off  mechanism 
for  poppet  valves,  and  at  this  time  was  engaged  in  fitting  his  patent 
to  the  engines  of  the  Hichmond,  as  previously  mentioned.  Mr. 
Dickerson  was  a  New  Yprk  lawyer  who  had  become  acquainted 
with  Sickles  through  patent  suits  and  from  gaining  a  smattering  of 
mechanical  matters  had  become  an  enthusiast  on  the  subject,  enter- 
ing into  the  study  of  engineering  with  all  the  zeal  aDd  blindness  of 
a  new  convert.  He  appears  to  have  become  enamored  of  Mariotte's 
law  regarding  the  relationship  of  volumes,  pressures,  and  tempera- 
tures of  gases,  and  from  his  faith  in  the  infallibility  of  that  law 
under  all  conditions  came  to  the  conclusion  that  his  mission  upon 
earth  was  to  reform  the  engineering  practices  of  the  time,  in  which, 
as  now,  owing  to  material  difficulties,  the  law  of  Mariotte  when 
applied  to  the  steam  engine  did  not  display  its  theoretical  perfec- 
tion.    Mr.  Dickerson  is  described  as  a  man  of  graceful  manners 


and  appearance,  and  a  mest  eloquent  and  persuasive  speaker,  capa- 
ble of  convincing  almost  anyone  of  the  soundness  of  his  theories.1 

Having  entered  into  partnership  with  Sickels,  the  new  firm 
proposed  to  the  Navy  Department  to  design  machinery  for  one  of 
the  new  ships  which  would  ' '  produce  the  highest  possible  effect 
from  a  given  amount  of  fuel,  and  with  the  least  possible  weight." 
The  plans  suggested  were  regarded  by  all  engineers  as  very  faulty 
and  Mr.  Toucey,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  himself,  saw  their  im- 
practicability. Engineer-in- Chief  Martin  and  his  successor,  Mr. 
Archbold,  both  strenuously  opposed  the  proposition,  as  did  also  en- 
gineers generally  in  the  Navy  and  in  civil  life.  Mr.  Dickerson, 
however,  was  intimately  connected  socially  and  politically  with  Mr. 
Mallory  of  Florida, ,  then  Chairman  of  the  Senate  Committee  on  na- 
val affairs,  and  with  Senator  Yulee  of  the  same  state  and  a  promi- 
nent member  of  the  same  Committee,  through  whose  political  influ- 
ence, exerted  with  great  energy,  Mr.  Dickerson  eventually  obtained 
the  sought  for  contract.  The  opposition  of  the  Secretary  was  over- 
borne and  he  most  unwillingly  signed  it.  The  date  of  this  contract 
was  April  3,  1858;  by  its  terms  Sickels  and  Dickerson  agreed  to  de- 
sign and  superintend  the  building  of  the  Pensacola's  machinery  and 
allow  the  Government  to  use  their  patents. 

The  drawings  furnished  by  them  are  still  on  file  in  the  Bureau 
of  Steam  Engineering,  Navy  Department,  and  exhibit  by  their  bril- 
liant coloring  and  crudeness  of  execution  their  amateur  origin.  Mr. 
Sickels  apparently  had  allowed  his  good  engineering  sense  to  lie 
dormant  and  permitted  his  enthusiastic  partner  to  revel  unchecked 
in  mechanical  movements  and  designs.  Cams,  ratchets,  bell-cranks, 
combination  levers,  etc.,  appear  in  profusion  for  the  performance 
of  the  simplest  functions,  seemingly  introduced  for  the  purpose  of 
indicating  knowledge  of  mechanical  motions  rather  than  from  any 
necessity  of  using  them.  The  peculiarities  of  the  machinery  thus 
designed  may  be  generally  stated  as  follows: 

1  As  a  patent  lawyer  Mr.  Dickerson  eDjoyed  a  national  reputation.  In  1855 
he  was  oounsel  for  McCormick  before  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  in  the 
great  suit  involving  the  question  of  infringement  of  patents  on  harvesting  machin- 
ery. Associated  with  him  in  this  famous  case  were  William  H.  Seward  and  Keverdy 
Johnson,  while  the  opposing  counsel  were  Abraham  Lincoln,  Edwin  M.  Stanton  and 
George  Harding. 


1.  The  use  of  large  cylinders  to  work  steam  with  a  large  meas- 
ure of  expansion. 

2.  The  use  of  a  peculiar  condensing  apparatus. 

3.  The  use  of  an  air  tight  fire-room. 

4.  The  use  of  small  boilers  in  proportion  to  the  cylinders. 
Four  steam  cylinders  58  inches  in  diameter  and  3  feet  stroke  of 

piston  were  arranged  in  pairs  on  opposite  sides  of  the  ship,  the  cyl- 
inders being  jacketed  with  steam  belts  4^  inches  in  depth.  The 
cylinders  were  directly  opposite  each  other,  but  instead  of  two 
cranks,  as  was  possible  by  the  arrangement,  the  designer  complica- 
ted matters  by  having  «ia>,in  order  to  effect  which,  two  of  the  con- 
necting rods  were  made  with  forked  ends  to  stride  the  crank  of  the 
opposite  cylinder,  each  arm  of  the  fork  grasping  a  crank  of  its  own. 
The  intoxicating  effect  of  this  thing  when  in  motion  may  be  easily 
imagined.  The  four  cylinders  with  their  connections  and  gear  made 
the  engine  plant  of  the  Pemacola  practically  double  in  weight  that 
of  the  other  sloops,  a  fact  that  did  not  require  an  engineer  to  detect, 
and  was  fatal  to  the  claim  of  the  designers  of  minimizing  weights. 
Two  surface  condensers  with  very  small  circulating  pumps  were  sup- 
plied, the  main  dependence  for  effecting  the  circulation  of  water  be- 
ing scoops  projecting  from  the  ship's  bottom,  on  the  theory  that  the 
remarkable  speed  of  the  ship  would  drive  water  through  the  condensers, 
as  is  now  done  in  practice  on  swift  torpedo  boats.  The  idea  of  the 
air-tight  fire-room  was  not  bad,  but  as  the  blowers  were  originally 
connected  it  was  shown  by  experiment  with  a  lamp  that  the  air 
pressure  obtained  was  actually  negative,  the  flame  of  the  lamp  draw- 
ing inward  from  an  open  air-lock  instead  of  being  blown  outward 
by  the  pressure  within.  Under  this  state  of  affairs  the  heat  of  the 
fire-room  was  so  intolerable  that  men  could  not  remain  in  it  for  any 
length  of  time.  Two  small  5-furnace  horizontal  fire-tube  boilers 
and  two  1-furnace  auxiliary  boilers  of  the  same  type  were  supplied^ 
the  total  grate  surface  being  234  square  feet  and  heating  surface 
about  7000.  Sickels'  cut-off  gear  was  of  course  used,  the  valves  be- 
ing set  to  cut  off  very  early  in  the  stroke,  leaving  Mariotte's  law  to 
do  the  rest.  With  this  valve  gear  applied  to  steam  and  exhaust 
valves  at  each  end  of  each  cylinder,  there  was  an  array  of  lifting  rods 
and  dash-pots,  decidedly  bewildering. 

The  requirements  of  the  department  called  for  a  2-bladed  hoist- 


ing  screw  of  the  type  then  in  favor,  and  the  designers  projected  such 
a  screw  with  very  fine  pitch  based  upon  a  calculated  engine  speed  of 
eighty  revolutions  per  minute,  but  as  the  work  progressed  they  lost 
faith  in  their  calculations  for  speed  and  altered  the  screw  by  increas- 
ing its  pitch  to  conform  to  forty  revolutions  per  minute.  This  con- 
fronted them  with  a  new  and  unexpected  problem,  for  a  correspond- 
ing increase  in  the  surface  of  the  screw  followed  as  a  necessity,  to 
effect  which  the  diameter  was  increased  about  four  feet  and  four 
blades  substituted  for  two.  This  destroyed  the  hoisting  feature  of 
the  screw  and  necessitated  throwing  away  all  the  costly  brass  cast- 
ings for  the  hoisting  apparatus,  as  well  as  the  two-bladed  screw  al- 
ready made.  The  hull  had  to  be  docked  to  alter  the  stern  and  deep- 
en the  keel  to  accomodate  the  new  screw,  and  the  ship's  draft  ac- 
cordingly increased.  This  one  blunder  cost  about  $20,000,  and  is 
only  one  example  of  manj,  illustrative  of  what  may  be  called 
the  piece-meal  manner  in  which  the  designing  and  fitting  together 
of  the  different  parts  of  the  machinery  was  conducted.  The  result 
was,  that  when  the  machinery  was  at  last  pronounced  ready  for  trial 

it  had  cost  $308,460,  or  more  than  twice  as  much  as  that  of  any 
other  ship   of  the  Pensaoola  class. 

Progressing  in  this  tentative  manner  the  work  was  necessarily 
slow  and  sometimes  came  to  a  complete  standstill  for  lack  of  knowl- 
edge as  to  what  to  do  next.  The  other  ships  of  the  class  were  com- 
pleted and  in  service,  the  Civil  War  began,  and  still  the  Pensaoola 
was  unfinished ;  so  slow  and  uncertain  did  the  work  progress  that  the 
designers  were  finally  suspected  of  disloyalty  and  Mr.  Sickels,  who 
had  charge  of  installing  the  machinery,  was  actually  put  under  guard 
and  not  allowed  to  leave  the  vessel  or  his  work.  Finally  Mr.  Ed- 
ward Faron,  who  had  once  been  an  engineer  in  the  navy,  was  em- 
ployed and  put  in  charge  of  the  work,  his  energy  resulting  in  its 
completion  and  a  trial  trip  on  the  Potomac  the  3d  of  January,  1862. 
On  this  trial  a  maximum  speed  of  8.8  geographical  miles  per  hour 
was  developed,  this  costing  five  pounds  of  coal  per  horse  power,  or 
about  25  per  cent,  more  than  the  Hartford  or  Lancaster,  while  the 
speed  was  0.7  miles  less. 

The  Pensacola  was  sent  at  once  to  join  Farragut's  fleet  off  the 
mouth  of  the  Mississippi  and  arrived  there  in  the  course  of  time,  af" 
ter  having  been  ashore  for  ten  days  on  one  of  the  Florida  Keys,her 


machinery,  and  engineers  as  well,  being  in  a  condition  of  semi-col- 
lapse when  she  got  in.  She  participated  in  the  brilliant  battle  of 
the  forts  below  New  Orleans  and  the  capture  of  that  city  in  April, 
but  was  so  uncertain  under  steam  that  she  was  thereafter  used  more 
as  a  floating  battery  than  as  a  reliable  cruising  ship.  In  1865  her  en- 
tire machinery  plant  was  taken  out  and  replaced  with  new  boilers 
and  engines,  the  latter  being  a  pair  of  the  60-inch  Isherwood  type 
built  by  Hazelhurst  &  Co.,  Baltimore,  for  a  large  sloop-of-war  pro- 
jected but  never  built,  the  name  of  which  was  Wanalosett, 

Secession  deprived  Mr.  Dickerson  of  his  powerful  Florida 
friends,  but  his  persuasive  eloquence  about  Washington  had  won 
him  many  more,  with  the  support  of  whom  he  made  himself  a  veri- 
table thorn  in  the  side  of  Engineer-in- Chief  Isherwood,  as  well  as  a 
source  of  much  trouble  for  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy.  In  spite  of 
the  object  lesson  furnished  by  the  costly  failure  of  the  Pensacola, 
Mr.  Dickerson  was  able  to  get  other  opportunities  to  experiment  with 
his  theories  at  public  expense  until  his  engineering  career  terminated 
with  the  complete  failure  of  one  of  the  finest  ships  ever  built  in  this 
or  any  other  country — the  Idaho.  The  opportunity  to  make  a  griev- 
ance out  of  the  Pensacola  affair  was  not  neglected  by  Dickerson, 
who  had  sufficient  influence  to  have  the  matter  made  a  subject  for 
congressional  investigation,  the  record  of  which  (EeportNo.  8,  38th 
Congress,  second  session)  is  highly  creditable  to  the  engineering 
branch  of  the  navy,  and  totally  lacking  in  elements  vindicating  its 

In  1864  Mr.  Dickerson,  as  attorney  in  the  case  of  Mattingly  vs. 
the  Washington  and  Alexandria  Steamboat  Company,  had  an  oppor- 
tunity to  address  a  jury  in  the  supreme  court  of  the  District  of  Col- 
umbia, on  which  occasion  he  launched  forth  upon  a  decidedly 
scholarly  speech  which  he  entitled  "The  Navy  of  the  United  States. 
An  Exposure  of  its  condition,  and  the  Causes  of  its  Failure."  As 
an  example  of  eloquent  invective  this  speech  is  worthy  of  classifica- 
tion with  the  famous  oration  of  Catiline,  and  its  author  was  so  proud 
of  it,  and  so  confident  of  its  destroying  the  reputation  of  his  arch- 
enemy, Isherwood,  that  he  caused  it  to  be  published  in  pamphlet 
form  and  distributed  broadcast.  It  turned  out  however  to  be  a  case 
of  one's  enemy  writing  a  book  and  getting  the  worst  of  it.  Mr. 
Isherwood  was  altogether  too  busy  with  a  multitude  of  official  cares 


to  give  any  heed  to  this  furious  attack  upon  him,  and,  indeed,  it  dis- 
turbed him  very  little,  for  he  had  been  too  long  and  too  prominent 
in  public  life  to  be  super-sensitive  to  criticism.  There  were  other 
members  of  his  corps  who  had  more  leisure  and  who  were  capable 
of  detecting  in  the  Mattingly  speech  an  opportunity  for  amusement 
at  the  expense  of  the  author,  and  there  soon  appeared  an  illustrated 
booklet  entitled  "Uncle  Sam's  Whistle,  and  What  it  Costs,"  deal- 
ing with  Dickerson,  the  trial  trip  of  the  Pensacola,  and  the  famous 
speech,  in  a  most  entertaining  and  amusing  manner.  In  it  Dicker- 
son  and  his  theories  were  ridiculed  so  perfectly  that  instead  of  ap- 
pearing before  the  public  as  the  purifier  and  reformer  of  the  Navy 
Department,  he  found  himself  suddenly  transformed  into  a  laugh- 
ing-stock for  the  entire  engineering  and  naval  element  of  the 
country.  The  authorship  of  the  book  referred  to,  is  somewhat  in 
doubt;  the  caricatures  and  sketches  were  made  by  Second  Assistant 
Engineer  Robert  Weir,  and  the  text  is  generally  credited  to  him,  as 
he  was  equally  handy  with  pen  and  pencil.  At  any  rate,  the  little 
book  was  the  most  exquisite  satire  ever  produced  within  the  navy, 
and  was  entirely  successful  in  its  purpose  of  turning  the  tables  upon 
the  assailant  of  the  head  of  the  engineering  branch  of  the  service. 1 

In  the  annual  report  for  1857  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  re- 
ported progress  on  the  five  ships  of  the  Richmond  class  and  took 
occasion  to  say  that  they  were  too  large  for  the  performance  of 
much  of  the  service  required  of  the  navy  on  our  own  coasts,  and 
especially  in  China.  Ten  steamers  of  ' '  light  draft,  great  speed  and 
heavy  guns  ' '  were  recommended  to  meet  the  deficiency,  to  which 
Congress  responded  by  an  act  approved  June  12,  1858,  authorizing 
the  construction  of  seven  screw- sloops  and  one  side- wheel  war 
steamer,  the  result  of  this  legislation  being  the  acquisition  of  a  class 
of  vessels  whose  names  were  familiar  in  the  navy  list  for  many 

The  side-wheel  steamer,  of  only  453  tons,  was  built  at  the  new- 
ly established  navy  yard  at  Mare  Island  near  San  Francisco  and  was 
named  Saginaw.  The  machinery  was  designed  and  built  by  the 
Union  Iron  Works  of  San  Francisco  under  the  supervision  of  Chief 
Engineer  George  Sewell,  and  consisted  of  a  2-cylinder  oscillating 

1  See  Appendix  0. 















engine  with  cylinders  39  inches  in  diameter  by  48  inches  stroke,  and 
two  3-furnace  Martin  boilers  aggregating  81  square  feet  of  grate  and 
2000  square  feet  of  heating  surface.  The  water  wheels  were  20 
feet  in  diameter  with  floats  6  feet  in  length.  The  Saginaw  was  com- 
pleted in  about  a  year,  and  in  the  latter  part  of  1859  went  to  the 
China  Station  for  her  first  service,  remaining  on  that  station  until 
1862  when  she  returned  to  San  Francisco.  Thereafter  she  was  con- 
stantly in  commission  attached  to  the  Pacific  squadron  until  October, 
1870,  when  she  was  wrecked  on  Ocean  island. 

Of  the  seven  screw  sloops,  four  were  specified  to  be  of  13  feet 
draft  when  ready  for  service,  and  the  other  three  of  10  feet  draft. 
The  following  table  exhibits  the  size,  etc. ,  of  the  four  larger  sloops, 
as  well  as  the  navy  yard  where  each  was  built: 







Where  built. 










198'-  9" 
198'-  5" 
198'-  5" 


33'-  2" 
32'.  9" 

363  sq.  ft. 
380  "     " 
366  "     " 
365  "     " 

Kittery,  Maine. 
New  York. 
Norfolk,  Va. 

The  Mohican's  machinery  was  built  by  Woodruff  and  Beach, 
Hartford,  Conn.,  under  the  supervision  of  Chief  Engineer  D.  B. 
Martin,  and  consisted  of  a  2-cylinder  back-acting  engine  with 
cylinders  54  inches  in  diameter  by  30  inches  stroke,  supplied  with  a 
Pirsson's  condenser,  and  two  Martin  boilers.  Pease  &  Murphy  of 
New  York  built  the  machinery  for  the  Iroquois,  which  was  of  the 
same  type  as  that  of  the  Mohican,  the  boilers  being  slightly  smaller 
and  the  stroke  of  pistons  28  instead  of  30  inches.  The  machinery 
for  the  Wyoming  was  by  Merrick  &  Sons,  Philadelphia,  inspected 
by  Chief  Engineer  Edward  Whipple.  The  engines  were  direct- 
acting  with  two  cylinders  50  inches  in  diameter  by  30  inches  stroke, 
and  had  a  close  surface  condenser  of  Mr.  Merrick's  design.  The 
boilers  were  of  the  same  type  but  considerably  smaller  than  those 
of  either  the  Mohican  or  Iroquois.  Murray  &  Hazlehurst  of  Balti- 
more built  the  machinery  of  the  Dacotah,  which  was  radically  diff- 
erent from  that  of  the  other  sloops.     Two  large  direct-acting  en- 


gines,  63  inches  diameter  by  36  inches  stroke,  drove  a  huge  wooden- 
toothed  gear  wheel,  which  in  turn  drove  >  a  pinion  keyed  to  the  pro- 
peller shaft,  the  speed  ratio  being  as  9  to  4.  The  engines  were 
designed  for  a  speed  of  36  revolutions  per  minute,  or  81  of  the 
screw,  which  was  about  the  same  as  the  direct  speed  of  the  other 
vessels.  The  boilers  of  the  Dacotah,  two  in  number,  were  of  the 
horizontal  return  fire-tube  variety,  instead  of  the  Martin  type  then 
so  generally  used.  Chief  Engineer  H.  H.  Stewart  was  the  superin- 
tendent of  construction  of  this  machinery.  The  four  vessels  were 
all  completed  and  in  service  by  the  end  of  1859,  the  Mohican  being 
on  the  coast  of  Africa,  the  Iroquois  in  the  Mediterranean,  the  Wy- 
oming in  the  Pacific,  and  the  Dacotah  on  her  way  to  join  the  Asiatic 
squadron.  All  of  them  showed  a  speed  under  steam  alone  in  smooth 
water  of  about  11.5  knots  per  hour,  and  averaged  8  knots  for  gen- 
eral performance  at  sea. 

The  three  smaller  sloops  were  the  Narragansett,  Seminole,  and 
Pawnee,  all  good  and  appropriate  American  names,  like  most  of  the 
names  bestowed  upon  our  war  vessels  in  those  days.  The  Narra- 
gansett was  of  1,235  tons  displacement  and  was  built  at  the  Boston 
navy  yard,  the  machinery  being  built  by  the  Boston  Locomotive 
Works.  She  had  a  pair  of  direct-acting  engines  with  cylinders  48 
inches  in  diameter  by  28  inches  stroke  of  piston,  driving  a  4- 
bladed  screw  12  feet  in  diameter.  Pirsson's  double-vacuum  con- 
denser was  used.  The  boilers,  two  in  number,  were  of  the  usual 
Martin  type,  containing  200  square  feet  of  grate  surface  and  about 
6,150  square  feet  of  heating  surface.  The  Narragansett  was  com- 
pleted and  in  commission  by  the  end  of  1859,  sailing  shortly  there- 
after for  the  Pacific  station. 

The  Seminole,  built  at  the  navy  yard,  Pensacola,  Florida,  was 
a  sister-ship  of  the  Narragansett  and  similar  to  her  in  all  principal 
dimensions.  Her  machinery  was  built  by  the  Morgan  Iron  Works, 
New  York,  and  consisted  of  a  pair  of  back-acting  horizontal  engines 
with  cylinders  50  inches  diameter  by  30  inches  stroke,  and  two 
Martin  boilers  slightly  smaller  than  those  of  the  Narragansett.  The 
Seminole  went  to  the  Brazil  station  in  1860  and  was  recalled  in 
1861  in  time  to  take  an  active  part  in  the  battle  of  Port  Royal  in 
November  of  that  year.  Later  she  served  in  Farragut's  West  Gulf 
squadron  and  participated  in  the  battle  of  Mobile  Bay,  going  into 
action  lashed  alongside  the  Lackawanna. 



The  third  of  these  sloops,  the  Pawnee,  differed  much  from  the 
other  two  in  the  form  of  her  hull  and  in  the  feature  of  having  twin 
screws.  She  was  built  by  the  government  at  the  Philadelphia 
navy  yard,  but  from  the  designs  and  under  the  supervision  of  a 
civilian  ship-builder,  Mr.  John  W.  Griffiths  of  New  York,  who  held 
a  temporary  appointment  as  a  naval  constructor  while  directing  this 
work.  It  had  been  determined  to  arm  the  Pawnee  with  four  XI- 
inch  Dahlgren  guns,  and  it  was  to  demonstrate  that  this  could  be 
done  without  exceeding  the  specified  draft  of  ten  feet  that  Mr. 
Griffiths  was  employed.  The  resulting  vessel  was  considerably 
longer  and  broader  than  the  others  of  her  class  and  of  somewhat 
less  than  ten  feet  draft  when  armed  and  equipped  for  service,  a  fact 
that  made  her  of  great  use  with  her  heavy  battery  in  the  shallow 
rivers  of  the  southern  coast  during  the  war.  Besides  having  to 
carry  the  unusually  large  battery,  the  engines  to  drive  the  two  screws 


a,  cylinder,    b,  condenser,    c,  master-wheel,    d-d,  screw-shaft  pinions. 

were  considerably  heavier  than  in  other  vessels  of  the  class,  and 
this  necessitated  further  calculation  on  the  part  of  the  constructor, 
who  so  modified  the  form  of  the  hull  that  when  the  vessel  was  com- 
pleted her  bottom  was  actually  concave. 

The  Pawnee  was  221  feet  6  inches  long;  47  feet  beam;  1,533 
tons  displacement  and  rated  at  1,289  tons  burden.  Chief  engineers 
Wm,  W.  W.  Wood  and  E.  H.  Long  superintended  the  building  of 
the  machinery  at  the  works  of  Beanie  &  Neafie,  Philadelphia, 
there   being   two   horizontal   direct- acting  cylinders  65   inches   in 



diameter  by  36  inches  stroke,  driving  a  large  gear  wheel  7  feet  3 
inches  in  diameter,  this  driving  two  smaller  wheels  keyed  to  the 
two  shafts,  the  small  wheels  or  pinions  being  2  feet  11  inches  dia- 
meter of  pitch  circle.  The  master  wheel  was  somewhat  to  port  of 
the  center  line  of  the  ship,  as  shown  by  the  outline  sketch  of  this 
unusual  type  of  engine.  There  were  two  7-furnace  horizontal  re- 
turn fire-tubular  boilers  containing  133  square  feet  of  grate  surface 
each.  The  propellers  were  four-bladed,  nine  feet  in  diameter,  and 
instead  of  being  supported  by  struts  under  the  counters,  the  shafts 
were  prolonged  to  the  stern  post  where  they  were  upheld  by  a  cross- 
bar, the  screws  being  at  the  ends  of  the  shafts. 

This  vessel  was  launched  in  1859  but  was  not  completed  for 
sea  until  the  spring  of  1861  when  she  at  once  became  actively  en- 
gaged in  warlike  operations  along  the  Atlantic  coast,  her  first  im- 
portant service  being  at  the  destruction  of  the  Norfolk  navy  yard 
in  April.  During  the  same  year  she  took  part  in  the  attack  on 
Hatteras  Inlet  in  August  and  in  the  battle  of  Port  Royal  in  Novem- 
ber. During  the  following  years  of  the  war  she  was  attached  to 
the  South  Atlantic  blockading  squadron  and  did  much  important 
service  on  the  coast  of  Florida  and  elsewhere.  After  the  war  she 
made  one  cruise  to  the  Brazil  station  and  then  became  a  hospital  and 
store-ship  at  home,  being  finally  sold  out  of  the  service  at  Port 
Royal  in  1884. 

In  February,  1855,  the  Water  Witch,  which  for  years  had 
been  engaged  in  exploring  La  Plata  River  and  its  tributaries,  was 
forcibly  prevented  from  further  prosecuting  that  work  by  being 
fired  upon  by  a  Paraguayan  fort  commanding  the  river,  the  man  on 
duty  at  the  wheel  at  the  time  being  killed.  Attempts  to  gain  re- 
dress by  diplomatic  methods  having  been  steadily  repulsed  by 
Lopez,  the  autocratic  president  of  Paraguay,  our  government  was 
finally  forced  to  resort  to  a  show  of  power,  and  late  in  the  year  1858 
a  squadron  of  nineteen  naval  vessels  carrying  two  hundred  guns  and 
twenty- five  hundred  men  was  assembled  in  the  river  under  command 
of  Flag  Officer  W.  B.  Shubrick.  Nine  of  these  vessels  were  sailing 
frigates,  sloops-of-war  and  brigs,  the  other  ten  being  small  steamers 
capable  of  ascending  the  river.  Two  of  the  steamers,  the  Fulton 
and  Water  Witch  belonged  to  the  regular  naval  establishment;  an- 
other was  the  revenue  cutter  Harriet  Lane,  named  for  the  neice  of 


President  Buchanan,  and  the  others  were  merchant  steamers  char- 
tered and  armed  for  the  occasion.  Six  of  them  were  screw  steam- 
ers varying  from  220  to  550  tons  burden  and  were  named  Memphis, 
Atlanta,  Caledonia,  Southern  Star,  Western/port,  and  M.  W. 
Chopin,  the  seventh,  the  Metacomet,  being  a  side-wheel  steamer  of 
395  tons.  Thirty-eight  officers  of  the  engineer  corps  were  attached 
to  these  vessels. 

All  the  steamers  and  such  of  the  sailing  vessels  as  were  per- 
mitted by  their  draft  of  water  were  moved  up  the  river  to  a  point 
above  Rosario,  ready  to  act  against  Paraguay  if  necessary,  and  in 
January  1859  the  Flag  Officer  and  Mr.  Bowlin,  the  special  commiss- 
ioner of  the  United  States,  proceeded  in  the  Fulton  and  Water  Witch 
to  Assuncion,  the  capital  of  Paraguay.  No  difficulty  was  then  ex- 
perienced in  gaining  a  respectful  hearing  and  the  object  of  the  mis- 
sion was  fully  and  peacefully  accomplished.  A  satisfactory  apol- 
ogy was  extended  for  firing  on  the  Water  Witch;  an  indemnity  was 
paid  on  the  spot  for  the  benefit  of  the  family  of  the  seaman  who 
had  been  killed,  and  the  special  envoy  negotiated  a  new  and  ad- 
vantageous commercial  treaty  with  the  Paraguayan  government. 
Without  the  steamers  the  successful  termination  of  this  expedition 
would  have  been  extremely  difficult,  if  not  impossible,  Paraguay 
lying  so  far  inland  that  natural  obstacles  would  have  prevented  an 
approach  by  troops  on  land  or  by  sailing  vessels  on  the  river  except 
at  an  enormous  outlay  of  life  and  money. 

When  the  squadron  returned  to  the  United  States  the  chartered 
steamers  were  purchased  and  added  to  the  naval  establishment, 
about  one-half  of  their  cost  price  being  money  already  paid  or  due 
the  owners  for  their  charters.  After  purchase,  the  names  were 
changed  as  follows:  Metacomet  to  Pulaski;  Memphis  to  Mystic; 
Weslernport  to  Wyandotte;  Caledonia  to  Mohawk;  Atlanta  to  Sum- 
ter; Southern  Star  to  Orusader;  M.  W.  Chopin  to  Anaoostia.  The 
side- wheel  vessel,  the  Pulaski,  was  kept  on  the  Brazil  station  doing 
exploring  and  other  river  service  until  1863,  when  she  was  sold  at 
Montevideo.  The  smallest  of  the  screw  steamers,  the  Anacosti, 
became  a  navy  yard  tender  and  coastwise  transport  attached  to  the 
Washington  navy  yard,  and  the  five  other  screw  steamers  were  put 
on  active  cruising  duty  on  the  coasts  of  Cuba  and  Africa,  in  the 
suppression  of  the  slave  trade.     All  did  good  service  during  the 


Civil  War,  and  all  were  sold  at  its  close  with  the  exception  of  the 
/Swnter,  which  had  been  sunk  in  1863  by  an  accidental  collision 
with  the  army  transport  General  Meigs. 

In  the  naval  appropriation  act  approved  June  22nd,  1860,  a 
clause  directed  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  have  all  the  sailing 
vessels  of  the  navy  surveyed  with  a  view  to  converting  them  into 
steamers.  This  duty  was  performed  by  a  board  composed  of  Cap- 
tains George  W.  Storer  and  S.  H.  Stringham;  Engineer-in-Chief 
Archbold  and  Chief  Engineer  Isherwood;  Chief  Constructor  John 
Lenthal,  and  Naval  Constructor  B.  F.  Delano;  the  vessels  which 
were  abroad  and  therefore  not  accessible,  were  reported  upon  from 
their  records  and  drawings  in  the  department.  The  report  of  the 
board  was,  that  it  was  not  expedient  to  introduce  steam  into  the 
brigs,  sloops  and  frigates,  but  that  it  was  desirable  in  the  case  of 
the  ships  of  the  line,  which  class  was  recommended  to  be  razeed 
and  converted  into  first-class  steam  frigates.  The  Secretary  of  the 
Navy  transmitted  this  report  to  Congress  with  his  annual  report  at 
the  end  of  that  year,  and  urged  that  the  recommendation  be  carried 
out,  on  the  ground  that,  "in  the  event  .of  war  no  one  of  these  line- 
of -battle  ships,  in  the  present  state  of  steam  navigation,  could  go 
to  sea  with  a  reasonable  degree  of  safety. ' '  The  work  would  un- 
doubtedly have  been  authorized  by  Congress  that  winter  had  not 
events  of  startling  magnitude  intervened  to  split  both  Congress  and 
the  navy  in  twain,  and  made  the  problem  of  strengthening  the 
steam  navy  one  that  could  not  be  met  by  the  make-shift  of  patch- 
ing up  old  sailing  ships. 


"Ev'n  now  we  hear  with  inward  strife 
A  motion  toiling  in  the  gloom — 
The  spirit  of  the  years  to  come 
Yearning  to  mix  himself  with  life." 

Alfred  Tennyson. 

The  Engineer  Corps  from  1850  to  the  Beginning  of  the  Civil  War— Congress  Peti- 
tioned to  Increase  the  Corps— Pay  Increased  by  United  Efforts  of  All  Offi- 
cers— Bank  of  Engineers  Defined — Issue  of  New  Regulations  Governing 
Appointment  and  Promotion— Opinions  of  Chief  Engineer  Gay  in  Belation  to 
Sails  and  Steam. 

The  membership  of  the  engineer  corps  provided  by  the  act  of 
Congress  of  1842  was  based  upon  the  number  of  steamers  in  the 
navy  at  the  time,  and  made  no  provision  for  the  performance  of 
shore  duty,  except  by  the  engineer-in-chief,  thus  compelling  him 
to  obtain  technical  assistance  either  from  civilian  engineers 
employed  as  clerks  or  draftsmen,  or  naval  engineers  who 
might  be  unemployed  because  of  a  steam  war  vessel  having  been 
put  out  of  commission.  The  inspection  work  required  of  the 
engineer  corps  by  the  building  of  the  Powhatan  and  other  steamers 
at  the  same  time,  had  with  great  difficulty  been  provided  for;  but 
had  imposed  upon  the  engineer-in- chief  a  vast  amount  of  care  and 
professional  labor,  greater  in  fact  than  one  man  could  perform.  In 
this  dilemma  the  engineers  petitioned  Congress  for  relief,  this  me- 
morial having  been  preserved  in  official  form  as  Senate  Miscellane- 
ous Document  No.  45,  32d  Congress,  1st  session,  is  herewith  pre- 


Engineers  of  the  Navy, 


February  24,  1852. 

Kef  erred  to  the  Committee  on  Naval  Affairs 

February  25,  1852. 

Ordered  to  be  Printed. 


To  t/te  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the   United  States  of 
America  in  Congress  assembled  : 


The  undersigned  respectfully  represent  to  your  honorable  bodies 
the  utter  inadequacy  of  the  present  organization  of  the  engineer 
corps  of  the  United  States  navy,  and  most  earnestly  solicit  your  at- 
tention to  the  following  brief  statement  of  facts  in  proof  of  this 
assertion,  and  in  support  of  the  propositions  herewith  submitted. 

The  law  of  OongresB  authorizing  the  present  organization  of  the 
engineer  corps  was  established  in  the  very  infancy  of  our  steam  ma- 
rine— at  the  time  of  constructing  our  first  steam  ship  as  an  experiment. 
At  that  date  neither  a  rapid  increase  of  steamers  nor  an  enlarged 
sphere  of  duties  for  the  naval  engineers,  such  as  has  since  taken 
place,  was  contemplated;  and  the  organization  was  accordingly  made 
on  a  basis  to  meet  the  limited  duties,  both  in  extent  and  kind, 
which  were  intended  to  be  performed  by  the  corps. 

Those  limited  duties  were  to  be  entirely  performed  afloat  on  the 
Atlantic  coast  of  the  United  States,  and  their  sphere  of  action  was 
to  be  confined  to  the  management  of  the  machinery  of  a  few  second 
class  vessels,  for  home  service  exclusively,  to  which  it  was  proposed 
to  restrict  our  steam  marine.  It  is  scarcely  necessary  here  to  state 
that  these  expectations  were  never,  even  from  the  first,  realized,  aud 
the  engineers  of  the  naval  corps  at  once  entered  upon  a  wide  and 
very  responsible  range  of  duties  combining  all  of  theory  and  prac- 
tice known  in  the  extensively  ramified  arts  and  sciences;  making  up  a 
thorough  knowledge  of  the  principles  and  practice  of  marine  steam 
engineering  and  steam  navigation — a  knowledge  which  it  is  believed 
will  not  be  contested  by  any  qualified  to  judge,  to  demand  quite  as 
much  natural  ability,  united  with  as  deep  study  and  long  practice,  as 
are  required  for  any  other  profession;  certainly  for  any  of  those  com- 
posing the  various  corps  in  the  government  service. 

Some  of  the  duties  of  the  engineer  corps  are  briefly  stated  as 
follows:  thoy  decide  upon  and  design  the  various  complex  machinery 
of  the  government  war  steamers;  furnishing,  first,  the  working 
drawings  in  the  most  complete  detail,  then  superintending  its  manu- 
facture at  the  various  establishments  where  it  is  contracted  to  bo 
built,  and  afterwards  its  erection  on  board  the  vessels;  finally  they 
operate  this  machinery  at  sea. 


The  machinery  so  designed  and  constructed  is  of  the  largest, 
most  complicated  and  costly  description,  frequently  amounting  in  a 
first-class  steam-ship  to  hundreds  of  thousands  of  dollars.  It  is 
manufactured  by  contract  at  the  various  works  where  the  Navy  de- 
partment may  direct,  and  naval  engineers  are  the  sole  guardians  of 
the  public  interest,  where  the  expenditures  constitute  a  formidable 
fraction  of  the  naval  appropriations.  They  furnish  the  only  barrier 
to  peculation  on  the  government,  and  the  fraudulent  performance  of 
contracts,  if  such  were  attempted. 

The  amounts  and  kinds  of  labor  done  are  determined  by  and 
paid  for  wholly  on  the  certificates  of  the  superintending  engineer 
and  the  engineer-in-chief. 

Having  thus  shown,  as  we  trust,  to  the  satisfaction  of  your 
honorable  bodies,  the  importance  of  having  at  all  times  in  the  coun- 
try, on  shore  duty,  a  sufficient  number  of  engineers  of  the  higher 
grades  to  discharge  the  above  mentioned  responsibilities,  we  proceed 
to  show  that  in  this  very  particular  the  present  organization  is  de- 
fective. The  act  of  1842  only  provides  for  the  appointment  of  a 
sufficient  number  of  engineers  of  all  grades  to  supply  our  war  steam- 
ers, leaving  no  margin  for  sickness  or  other  disability,  and  making 
no  provision  whatever  either  for  the  supply  of  the  many  steamers 
attached  to  the  coast  survey,  or  for  the  designing  and  superintending 
the  construction  of  such  new  machinery  as  the  continually  increasing 
wants  of  the  service  may  require.  It  therefore  follows,  as  the  nec- 
essary consequence,  either  that  the  duty  afloat  must  be  performed 
by  an  insufficient  number  of  engineers — and  those,  too,  taken  from 
the  lower  grades,  not  possessing  the  requisite  experience  and  knowl- 
edge for  its  proper  performance — or  the  more  important,  and  indeed 
paramount,  shore  duties  must  be  neglected. 

The  Department  has  therefore  preferred  the  former,  rather  than 
incur  the  loss  and  inconvenience  of  the  latter.  From  the  very 
commencement  of  the  steam  navy  there  has  scarcely  ever  been  a 
steamship  in  commission  with  the  full  complement  of  engineers. 
Those  Engineers,  therefore,  who  are  ordered  on  duty  afloat — a  duty 
which  tasks  arduously  their  physical  qualities— have  thrown  upon 
them  a  much  greater  amount  than  can  fairly  be  performed  with  jus- 
tice, either  to  themselves  or  the  government.  And  if  the  latter 
alternative  were  preferred,  and  the  service  afloat  filled  with  the  pre- 


scribed  number  of  Engineers,  it  would  keep  the  whole  corps  at  sea, 
continually  absent  from  their  families,  and  without  the  rotation  of 
shore  duty  enjoyed  by  other  officers  of  the  navy. 

The  present  organization  allows  one  chief  engineer,  (commis- 
sioned by  the  President),  two  first  assistant,  two  second  assistant, 
and  three  third  assistant  engineers,  for  each  steamer-of-war.  All 
the  assistant  engineers  hold  their  appointments  by  warrant  of  the 
Honorable  Secretary  of  the  Navy. 

The  present  number  of  steamers-of-war  actually  in  commission 
is  ten,  and  in  the  course  of  four  months  five  more  will  probably  be 
added — making  fifteen,  in  all,  in  commission  by  the  first  of  June 

The  present  organization  authorizes  the  appointment  of  fifteen 
chief,  thirty  first  assistant,  thirty  second  assistant,  and  forty-five 
third  assistant  engineers.  Now,  by  the  first  of  June,  next,  twelve 
chief,  twenty-seven  first  assistant,  twenty-seven  second  assistant, 
and  thirty-nine  third  assistant  engineers  will  be  required  for  service 
afloat,  in  naval  steamers,  leaving  but  three  chief  and  twel/oe  assist- 
ant engineers  to  perform  the  various  shore  duties,  and  engineer  the 
six  coast  survey  steamers.  From  this  it  will  be  seen  how  insufficient 
the  present  organization  is,  to  provide  for  even  a  reasonable  approx- 
imation of  the  requisite  number. 

Further  :  the  original  organization  contemplating  only  a  provis- 
ion for  the  management  of  the  machinery  of  the  steam  ships,  provides 
merely  for  a  chief  engineer  afloat  as  the  highest  grade  ;  but,  as  has 
been  before  shown,  the  construction  of  this  machinery  has  been  also 
superintended  by  the  engineers  of  the  navy.  Now,  it  is  well  known 
that  designing  and  constructing  machinery  requires  a  much  higher 
order  of  ability  than  its  after  management  ;  and  when  the  two  du- 
ties are  to  be  performed  by  the  same  Corps,  those  distinct  offices 
should  be  performed  by  distinct  grades — those  of  the  highest  talent 
being  taken  from  the  one  to  form  the  other. 

The  organization  of  1842  is,  therefore,  insufficient,  in  not  hav- 
ing this  provision,  and  we  suggest  to  your  honorable  bodies  the 
propriety  of  adding  another  grade,  formed  from  the  present  grade 
of  chief  engineers,  (without  increase  of  pay),  to  be  called  '■'■Inspect- 
ors of  Machinery  Ashore  and  Afloat. ' '  In  the  British  Navy,  the 
necessities  of  their  largest  steam  marine  have  already  compelled  the 


organization  here  recommended,  and  from  them  the  title  of  "In- 
spectors of  Machinery"   is  borrowed. 

Another  reason  for  enlarging  the  engineer  corps  is  furnished  by 
the  fact  that  a  considerable  extension  of  our  steam  marine  must  soon 
be  made,  and  it  is  impossible  to  create  good  naval  engineers  as  fast 
as  it  is  possible  to  build  steamships. 

All  other  corps  are  sufficiently  numerous  to  anticipate  a  consid- 
erable increase  of  the  navy,  while  the  engineers  are  too  few  even 
for  the  present  service.  Were  a  sudden  enlargement  of  the  steam 
marine  now  to  be  made,  the  Engineer  Corps  will  have  to  be  filled 
with  such  talent  as  could  be  immediately  commanded — not  such  as 
would  be  desired — and  the  public  interests  would  inevitably  suffer 
as  a  consequence. 

We  would  urge  upon  your  honorable  bodies  the  strong  proba- 
bility, which  will  scarcely  be  contested  by  any  who  have  bestowed 
the  proper  reflection  upon  the  subject,  that  in  20  years  there  will  be 
no  naval  vessels  unpropelled  in  whole  or  in  part  by  steam.  The 
introduction  of  steam  for  all  marine  war  purposes  will  be  compelled 
by  necessity  and  the  pressure  of  circumstances. 

In  conclusion,  we,  your  memorialists,  would  state,  that  in  our 
opinion  the  following  additions  to  the  present  organization  are  neces- 
sary to  render  the  engineer  corps  equal  to  the  performance  of  the 
services  required  of  it,  viz  : 

The  addition  of  the  higher  grade  of  Inspector  of  machinery 
ashore  and  afloat.  An  inspector  of  machinery  ashore  to  be  allowed  for 
each  of  the  principal  navy  yards,  and  a  chief  engineer  for  each  of 
the  other  navy  yards  ;  also,  an  assistant  engineer  of  each  grade  for 
each  navy-yard.  An  inspector  of  machinery  afloat  to  be  allowed 
for  each  squadron  containing  two  or  more  steamers. 

The  inspector  of  machinery  for  the  Washington  Navy  Yard 
to  be  attached  to  the  office  of  engineer-in-chief  of  the  Navy  and 
to   perform    such    duties   as  the  engineer-in- chief  may  require  of 


The  inspectors  of  machinery  to  receive  the  same  pay  and  be 
entitled  to  the  same  privileges  and  immunities  in  all  respects  as 
chief  engineers,  and  to  be  commissioned  in  the  same  manner  as 
Chief  Engineers. 

The  inspectors  of  machinery  now  required  to  be  selected  by  the 


Hon.  Secretary  of  the  Navy  from  the  present  grade  of  Chief  En- 
gineers, but  that  thereafter  all  promotions  to  that  grade  to  be  made 
by  examination  by  a  Board  of  Inspectors  of  machinery. 

Believing  the  above  facts  to  be  truthfully  stated  and  relying  on 
the  wisdom  and  justice  of  your  honorable  bodies,  we  respectfully 
solicit  for  them  a  favorable  consideration. 

Chaeles  B.  Stuart, 
Engineer-in-Chief,  U.  S.  N.  Navy. 

B.  F.  Ishbewood, 
Chief  Engineer  U.   S.  N.  for  the 
grade  of  Chief  Engineer. 

J.  W.  King, 

First  Assistant  Engineer  U.  S.  N. 
For  the  grade  of  Asst.  Engineer. 

A  bill  providing  for  more  engineers  on  the  lines  of  the  petition 
was  favorably  reported  by  the  naval  committees  of  Congress,  but 
like  the  great  majority  of  naval  bills,  failed  to  reach  a  vote  through 
lack  of  interest  in  Congress  and  external  opposition.  Soon  after- 
ward work  was  begun  on  the  large  screw  frigates  described  in  the 
preceding  chapter,  and  this  provided  the  opportunity  of  appointing 
engineers  for  them  before  they  were  completed,  nearly  fifty  new 
members  being  added  to  the  corps  in  the  next  three  years  and  thirty 
more  in  the  year  1857. 

In  1856  the  engineers  joined  with  all  other  branches  of  the 
service  in  an  organized  effort  to  obtain  an  increase  of  pay  from 
Congress  ;  this  effort  is  noteworthy  from  the  fact,  that  probably  it  is 
the  only  instance  on  record  where  all  the  corps  of  the  navy  laying 
aside  their  rivalries  and  jealousies  honestly  worked  together  for  a 
common  purpose,  also  for  the  more  especial  and  important  reason 
that  their  united  effort  was  successful. 

The  writer  has  been  fortunate  enough  to  have  been  given  a  copy 
of  a  circular  letter  prepared  by  the  officers'  committee  in  Washing- 
ton and  sent  to  all  officers  of  the  service,  directing  the  manner  to  be 
observed  in  furthering  their  endeavor,  which  letter  is  here  repro- 
duced as  an  instructive  example  of  the  method  of  going  about  the 
difficult  task  of  securing  legislation  for  the  navy. 



"Washington,  December,  8,  1856. 
'  Sib  :  At  a  meeting  of  Naval  Officers,  held  in  this  city  on 
the  6th  instant,  with  the  view  of  concert  of  action  in  advocating 
the  necessity  of  a  general  increase  of  pay  for  the  Navy,  the  follow- 
ing officers  were  unanimously  appointed  a  committee,  charged  with 
the  management  of  the  memorial  to  which  your  signature  is  ap- 
pended, viz : 

W.  W.  Hunter,  Commander. 

Charles  Steedman,         " 

Thomas  B.  Neille,  Purser. 

Maxwell  Woodhull,  Lieutenant. 

Eoger  N.  Stembel, 

Henry  A.  Wise, 

Joel  S.  Kennard, 

William  G.  Temple, 

John  M.  Brooke, 

A.  W.  Johnson, 

Robert  Wood  worth,  Surgeon. 

Mordecai  Yarnall,  Professor  of  Mathematics. 

William  Chauvenet,       "  "  " 

Joseph  S.  Hubbard,      "         "  " 

Montgomery  Fletcher,  First  Assistant  Engineer. 

James  C.  Warner,  "  "  " 

"On  the  evening  following,  a  sub-commiitee  was  appointed 
from  this  Body,  under  instructions  to  wait  on  the  Hon.  Secretary 
of  the  Navy,  present  the  Memorial  officially,  make  known  the  views 
of  the  memorialists,  the  action  which  had  been  already  taken,  and 
to  consult  with  him  as  to  the  course  most  promissory  of  success. 

' '  The  Secretary  suggested  the  presentation  of  the  Memorial 
to  Congress  through  the  Chairman  of  the  Naval  Committees,  and 
that  if  any  suggestions  as  to  the  mode  of  increase  were  elicited  from 
the  Committee,  the  most  simple  should  be  offered  ;  he  has  no  objec- 
tion to  the  exercise  of  whatever  personal  influence  officers  may  pos- 
sess with  Members  of  Congress  in  furtherance  of  our  object,  but 
he  will  not  approve  indiscriminate  approach  to  these  gentlemen  ; 
indeed  such  action  would  not  comport  with  the  dignity  of  our  posi- 
tion as  members  of  the  Naval  profession. 


' '  The  Secretary,  although  sensible  of  the  necessity  and  propri- 
ety of  our  application  for  an  increase  of  pay,  and  willing  to  heartily 
second  our  efforts  in  that  direction,  is  not  disposed  to  favor  per  cent- 
age  on  sea-service  ;  he  is  of  opinion  that  such  a  mode  of  increase 
would  not  be  strictly  just  in  its  operation  on  the  higher  grades  of 
the  service. 

"  At  a  subsequent  meeting  of  the  General  Committee  it  was 
unanimously  resolved  :  '  That,  if  our  suggestions  upon  the  subject 
were  solicited  by  the  Naval  Committees,  we  should  simply  state, 
that,  in  our  opinion,  an  addition  of  thirty  per  cent,  to  our  present 
pay,  all  around,  and  in  each  grade,  would  not  be  taxing  too  much 
,the  liberality  of  Congress. ' 

"  As  a  matter  of  course,  the  Naval  Committees,  should  they 
require  information  upon  this  subject,  will  direct  its  enquiries  to  the 
Head  of  the  Navy  Department.  So  far  as  individual  action  of  the 
officers  is  concerned,  judicious  management  and  unanimity  of 
opinion  is  certainly  necessary.  It  is  with  this  view,  and  to  prevent 
embarrassment,  which  might  result  in  a  defeat  of  the  object  con- 
templated, that  we  address  to  you  this  circular.  This  Committee, 
acting  in  the  spirit  of  fairness  and  justice,  would  claim  your  confi- 
dence and  earnest  support. 

"  It  is  a  well-known  fact,  that  the  expression  of  adverse  views 
upon  Naval  matters  before  Congress  tends  to  obstruct  the  action  of 
that  body,  and  we  beg  that  in  the  exercise  of  whatever  personal 
force  you  may  be  able  to  bring  to  the  advancement  and  success  of  this 
measure,  you  will  support  the  recommendation  of  your  committee." 

A  bill  entitled  "A  bill  to  increase  and  regulate  the 
pay  of  the  navy,"  was  introduced  and  experienced  the  various 
vicissitudes  of  bills  for  two  congresses,  finally  becoming  a  law  on 
the  1st  of  June,  1860.  By  the  terms  of  the  act  an  increase  of  pay 
of  about  twenty-five  per  cent,  in  every  grade  and  corps  was  pro- 
vided for,  and  a  longevity  scale  adopted,  the  majority  of  the  grades 
being  provided  with  four  rates  of  pay  increasing  with  length  of  ser- 
vice.    The  following  rates  were  fixed  for  the  engineer  corps: 

Chief  Engineers,  (on  duty). 

For  first  five  years  after  date  of  commission $1,800 

For  second  five  years  after  date  of  commission 2,200 


For  third  five  years  after  date  of  commission $2,450 

After  fifteen  years  from  date  of  commission 2,600 

On  leave,  or  waging  okdees. 

For  first  five  years  after  date  of  commission $1,200 

For  second  five  years  after  date  of  commission 1,300 

For  third  five  years  after  date  of  commission 1,400 

After  fifteen  years  from  date  of  commission 1,600 

First  Assistant  Engineers. 

On  duty $1,250 

On  leave,  or  waiting  orders 900 

Second  Assistant  Engineers. 

On  duty $1,000 

On  leave,  or  waiting  orders 750 

Third  Assistant  Engineers. 

On  duty $    750 

On  leave,  or  waiting  orders 600 

In  January  1859  Mr.  Toucey,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy, 
issued  the  following  general  order  conferring  naval  rank  upon  the 
officers  of  the  engineer  corps: 

"  Chief  engineers  of  more  than  twelve  years  will  rank  with 

"Chief  engineers  of  less  than  twelve  years  with  lieutenants. 

"  First  assistant  engineers  next  after  lieutenants. 

"  Second  assistant  engineers  next  after  masters. 

' '  Third  assistant  engineers  with  midshipmen. 

"This  order  confers  no  authority  to  exercise  military  command, 
except  in  the  discharge  of  their  duties,  and  no  additional  right  to 

This  order  was  affirmed  by  Congress  March  3,  1859,  with  the 
words  "  except  in  the  discharge  of  their  duties  "  stricken  out, 
which  omission  merely  served  to  emphasize  the  embarrassment  of 


the  engineers  in  controlling  their  own  men  aboard  ship,  where  their 
authority  was  necessarily  military,  or  else  no  authority  at  all. 

Orders  defining  the  rank  of  surgeons  and  paymasters,  similar 
to  the  above,  had  been  in  existence  for  some  time  and  the  status 
thus  conferred  was  generally  satisfactory  to  the  staff  officers.  That 
it  was  not  satisfactory  to  others  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  the  de- 
partment had  to  re-affirm  the  staff  officers'  rank  by  the  following 
order,  issued  February  25,  1861: 

' '  Surgeons  of  the  fleet,  surgeons,  paymasters,  and  chief  en- 
gineers of  more  than  twelve  years,  rank  with  commanders.  Sur- 
geons, paymasters,  and  chief  engineers  of  less  than  twelve  years, 
rank  with  lieutenants.  Passed  assistant  surgeons  and  first  assistant 
engineers  rank  next  after  lieutenants.  Assistant  surgeons  and 
second  assistant  engineers  next  after  masters,  and  third  assistant 
engineers  with  midshipmen. 

"  This  rank  is  now  established  by  law,  and  neither  the  depart- 
ment nor  any  officer  in  command  has  authority  to  withhold  it,  or  the 
honors  which  belong  to  it. 

' '  Commanding  and  executive  officers  of  whatever  grade,  while 
on  duty,  take  precedence  of  surgeons,  paymasters  and  engineers, 
and  the  effect  of  this  precedence  is  to  elevate  the  former,  but  not  to 
depress  the  latter,  or  to  detract  from  the  rank  or  the  honors  of  the 
rank  already  secured  to  them.  Commanders,  while  on  duty  as 
commanding  officers,  will  have  a  corporal's  guard.  Lieutenants, 
while  on  duty  as  executive  officers,  will  wear  on  the  cuffs  a  gold 
embroidered  star,  one  inch  and  a  quarter  in  diameter,  to  be  placed 
one  half  of  an  inch  above  the  stripe  of  gold  lace,  and  these  will 
indicate  the  precedence  to  which  they  are  by  law  entitled." 

An  entirely  new  schedule  of  requirements  for  admission  and 
promotion  of  officers  in  the  engineer  corps  was  issued  in  1859;  the 
regulations  in  full  are  as  follows: 

Beoulations  for  Admission  and  Promotion  in  the  Engineer  Corps. 

Before  persons  can  be  appointed  assistant  engineers  in  the  navy, 
they  must  have  passed  a  satisfactory  examination  before  a  board  of 
at  least  three  engineers,  designated  at  such  times  as  the  wants  of 


the  service  require.  Application  for  permission  to  appear  be- 
fore such  board  must  be  made  in  writing  to  the  Secretary  of  the 
Navy,  accompanied  by  satisfactory  testimonials  as  to  good  moral 
character,  correct  habits,  and  sound  constitution.  The  application 
will  be  registered,  and  when  a  board  next  meets,  permission  will  be 
sent  to  the  applicant,  stating  the  time  and  place  of  the  meeting  of 
the  Board. 

In  the  examination  for  a  third  assistant  engvneer,  the  candidate 
must  be  able  to  describe  all  the  different  parts  of  ordinary  condens- 
ing and  non-condensing  engines,  and  explain  their  uses  and  their 
mechanical  operation;  to  explain  the  manner  of  putting  engines  in 
operation,  how  to  regulate  and  modify  their  action,  and  the  manner 
of  guarding  against  danger  from  the  boilers,  by  the  means  usually 
applied  to  them  for  that  purpose.  He  will  be  expected  to  write  a 
fair,  legible  hand,  and  to  be  well  acquainted  with  arithmetic  and  the 
mensuration  of  surfaces  and  solids  of  the  regular  forms;  to  have 
worked  not  less  than  one  year  in  a  marine  engine  manufactory,  and 
present  testimonials  of  his  mechanical  ability  from  the  director  of 
the  establishment  in  which  he  may  have  served.  He  must  not  be  less 
than  twenty  nor  more  than  twenty-six  years  of  age. 

Candidates  for  promotion  to  the  rank  of  second  assistant  engineer 
must  have  served  at  least  two  years  as  third  assistants  in  the  manage- 
ment of  steam  engines  in  the  navy  in  actual  service,  must  produce 
testimonials  of  good  conduct  from  the  commanders  and  senior  engi- 
neers of  the  vessels  in  which  they  may  have  served,  and  must  pass 
a  satisfactory  examination  upon  the  subjects,  and  to  the  extent  pre- 
scribed for  third  assistants;  they  must  likewise  be  able  to  explain 
the  peculiarities  of  the  different  kinds  of  valves,  the  construction  of 
expansion  valves,  the  manner  of  their  operation,  the  remedies  which 
are  usually  resorted  to,  to  check  foaming  in  boilers ;  must  possess  a 
knowledge  of  the  usual  causes  of  derangement  in  the  operation  of 
air  pumps,  force  pumps,  and  feed  pipes,  the  proper  preventives  and 
remedies,  and  the  mode  of  cleaning  boilers  when  required.  They 
must  have  a  general  knowledge  of  the  mensuration  of  surfaces  and 

Before  promotion  to  the  rank  of  first  assistant  engineer  candi- 
dates mu6t  have  been  employed  at  least  three  years  as  second  assis- 
tant engineers  in  the  management  of  steam  engines  in  actual  service, 


and  produce  testimonials  of  character  and  good  conduct  from  their 
former  commanders  and  superior  engineers ;  must  pass  a  satisfactory 
examination  upon  the  subjects  prescribed  for  third  and  second  assis- 
tants, the  mechanical  powers,  the  different  kinds  of  deposits  and  in- 
crustations to  which  boilers  are  exposed,  and  be  able  to  furnish  a 
working  sketch  or  drawing  of  different  parts  of  engines  and  boilers; 
to  superintend  their  construction,  and  determine  upon  their  accuracy 
and  fitness  for  use. 

Promotions  to  the  grade  of  chief  engineer  are  to  be  made  after 
the  candidate  has  served  for  two  years  as  first  assistant  engineer  in 
the  management  of  steam  engines  in  the  navy  in  sea  service,  and 
has  been  examined  upon  any  of  the  subjects  specified  for  assistant, 
which  the  board  may  deem  expedient,  and  after  they  shall  have  sat- 
isfied the  board  of  their  previous  good  conduct  and  character,  of 
their  sufficient  knowledge  of  mechanics  and  natural  philosophy,  of 
the  forms,  arrangements,  and  principles  of  different  kinds  of  steam 
engines,  boilers,  propellers,  and  their  various  dependencies,  which 
have  been  successfully  applied  to  steam  vessels,  and  their  alleged 
relative  advantages,  for  sea  or  river  service,  and  shall  have  attained 
26  years  of  age. 

Candidates  for  promotion  who  may  fail  to  pass  a  satisfactory 
examination  may  be  examined  once  again,  and  if  they  fail  to  pass 
at  the  second  examination  they  shall  be  dropped  from  the  list  of  en- 

Candidates  for  admission  or  promotion  will  be  required  to  fur- 
nish the  board  of  examiners  with  evidence  of  their  abilities  in  the  ex- 
ecution of  mechanical  drawings,  and  their  proficiency  in  penmanship. 

The  examining  board  will  report  the  relative  qualifications  of 
the  persons  examined,  and  number  them,  giving  the  best  qualified 
the  lowest  number. 

>  When,  in  the  opinion  of  the  department,  the  wants  of  the  ser- 
vice require  the  admission  of  engineers  of  any  grade  above  that  of 
third  assistant,  the  same  qualifications  and  restrictions  as  to  times  of 
service  will  be  exacted  as  by  the  regulations  required  for  promotion 
to  the  grade  in  question:  Provided,  that  all  appointments  to  the 
grade  of  second  assistant  shall  be  made  between  the  ages  of  21  and 
28;  and  to  that  of  first  assistant,  between  25  and  32;  and  to  that  of 
Chief  engineer,  between  28  and  35. 


The  assistants  must  employ  all  favorable  opportunities  for  ac- 
quiring a  practical  knowledge  of  the  fabrication  of  the  different  parts 
of  steam  engines  and  their  dependencies,  that  they  may  be  able  to 
repair  or  replace  such  parts  as  the  space  and  means  for  making  and 
repairing  can  be  furnished  in  steam  vessels.  When  other  qualifica- 
tions are  equal,  candidates  whose  skill  and  abilities  in  these  particu- 
lars are  superior,  will  have  precedence  over  others  for  admission  or 
promotion,  who  may  be  considered  equal  in  other  particulars. 

Isaac  Toucey, 

Secretary  of  the  Navy. 
Navy  Department,  May  7,  1859. 

During  this  decade  immediately  preceding  the  Civil  War  the 
supremacy  of  steam  power  over  sails  as  a  means  of  marine  locomo- 
tion came  to  be  very  generally  admitted  in  the  naval  service,  even 
by  the  most  conservative,  and  the  work  of  creating  an  efficient  steam 
fleet  was  begun  in  earnest.  Of  the  many  opinions  and  reports  origi- 
nating in  the  navy  about  this  time  and  dealing  with  the  subject  of 
steam  versus  sails,  one  of  the  most  interesting  and  valuable  that  has 
been  preserved  is  a  letter  by  Chief  Engineer  Jesse  Gay  of  the  Miss- 
issippi which  exhibits  so  much  good  practical  sense  in  looking  at  the 
question,  that  it  is  here  copied  for  the  benefit  of  a  younger  genera- 
tion of  naval  officers,  some  of  Mr.  Gay's  views  even  yet  being 
pertinent  to  naval  economy. 

U.  S.  Steamer  Mississippi, 

At  Sea,  November  8,  1851. 

Sib:  After  long  experience  on  board  of  this  ship,  a  careful  obser- 
vation of  the  defects,  with  a  wish  to  render  her  more  efficient,  I  take 
the  liberty  to  make  the  following  observations,  and  suggest  improve- 
ments, which,  if  adopted,  will  render  the  Mississippi  more  useful, 
efficient  and  safe. 

The  objects  to  be  attained  in  a  War  Steamer  are,  first,  weight 
of  battery.  Second,  speed  by  steam,  with  an  economical  expendi- 
ture of  coals.  Third,  to  combine  her  steam  and  sails,  so  that  one 
shall  not  be  transported  at  the  expense  of  the  other.  A  ship  of  war, 
without  guns,  would  be  perfectly  defenseless;  a  war  steamer,  with 
encumbrance  on  her  steam  power,  is  equally  so.     The  sails  of  the 



Mississippi  are  auxiliary  to  her  steam;  with  her  sails  unaided  by  the 
engines,  she  is  helpless ;  on  the  other  hand  her  engines  are  sufficient 
to  handle  her  without  the  assistance  of  sails.  The  conclusion  is, 
therefore,  that  the  less  the  engines  are  encumbered  with  the  spars 
and  sails,  which  are  useless,  the  better  for  efficiency  and  safety. 
Again,  if  a  ship  is  overburdened  with  sails,  spars,  steam  engines, 
boilers,  besides  any  useless  weight,  it  deducts  the  same  number  of 
pounds  from  her  battery,  or  immerses  her  to  a  dangerous  depth  in 
the  water,  obstructs,  her  speed,  and  occasions  a  useless  expenditure 
of  coal,  for  which  a  small  compensation  is  obtained. 

The  spars  and  sails  of  the  Mississippi  are  too  large ;  if  they  were 
reduced  to  the  proper  size,  her  speed  would  be  augmented  more  than 
one  knot  per  hour,  allowing  her  to  draw  the  same  water.     The  en- 
gines not  only  have  her  vast  hull  to  propel,  but  the  great  surface  of 
spars,  which  are  a  great  obstruction  to  the  speed.     It  is  supposed 
the  larger  the  sails  the  more  assistance  they  are  capable  of  rendering. 
This  is  a  mistaken  idea,  as  experience  abundantly  has  shown;  a  pro- 
per area  of  sails  is  unquestionably  advantageous,  but  this  area  must 
not  exceed  a  limit  at  which  they  would  be  an  obstruction  to  speed 
by  steam.     When  the  winds  are  fair,  a  six  knot  breeze  is  required 
before  the  sails  are  of  any  use  in  propelling  the  ship  conjointly  with 
steam  power;  if  the  winds  are  strong  a  large  spread  of  canvas  is 
dangerous.     In  a  storm,  only  a  sufficient  quantity  is  necessary  to 
steady  the  ship,  and  this  will  of  course  be,  fore  and  aft  sails.     With 
light  fair  winds,  the  power  of  the  engines  will  bring  light  airs  ahead; 
thus,  a  steamer  will  most  of  the  time  have  light  airs  ahead,  or  occa- 
sionally aft,  but  not  in  sufficient  force  to  make  her  sails  effective; 
hence,  it  is  clear  that  her  great  spars   are  an  encumbrance  to  her 
speed  under  most  of  these  circumstances;  the  mainsail  cannot  be 
carried— the  main  topsail  has  seldom  been  used — studding  sails  have 
been   useless — fore  topsail  useful — top-gallant  sails  seldom — fore- 
topmast  stay-sail  and  jib  useful.     The  useful  sails  are  fore  and  main 
trysails,  fore  topmast  stay  sail  and  jib,  and  occasionally  the  spanker 
with  effect.     With  moderate  or  fresh  breezes  ahead,  the  top  gallant 
sails  are  necessarily  sent  down;  in  strong  head  winds,  lower  yards 
and  top  masts  are  also  sent  down.     In  fine  weather  all  these  spars 
are  again  sent  up  to  improve  the  appearance  of  the  ship.     All  this 
has  to  be  done  at  the  expense  of  labor  of  the  crew,  while  the  very 


spars  which  are  so  often  sent  up  and  down  are  seldom  of  any  use  in 
propelling  the  ship.  The  ship  may  be  propelled  by  the  aid  of  her 
sails,  but  in  a  very  awkard  manner;  the  first  difficulty,  the  crew  is 
far  too  small  to  handle  her  immense  sails  with  sufficient  promptitude; 
in  the  second  place,  the  mainmast  is  so  far  abaft  the  centre  of  mo- 
tion that  all  the  sails  upon  it,  (except  with  a  wind  directly  aft),  are 
of  but  little  or  no  use;  the  foremast  is  also  too  far  forward.  All 
these  difficulties  it  is  impossible  to  obviate;  with  sails  alone  she  is  a 
clumsy  ship,  hardly  capable  of  handling  herself;  she  never  can  be 
an  auxiliary  steamer  with  her  masts  in  their  present  position,  the 
most  important  of  which  cannot  be  moved  (the  main).  But  these 
are  not  all  the  difficulties ;  the  great  length  of  spars  produce  another 
difficulty  of  equal  damage  to  her  efficiency,  which  must  exist  with 
her  great  spars,  viz:  spare  sails,  spars  and  rigging  must  be  put  into 
the  sbip  to  the  amount  of  many  tons;  this  weight  only  adds  to  her  im- 
mersion and  reduces  her  speed;  or,  in  other  words,  it  requires  a 
portion  of  her  steam  power  to  transport  this  useless  weight,  which 
does  nothing  to  efficiency,  speed  or  safety.  As  I  before  remarked, 
all  the  unnecessary  weight  put  into  a  War  Steamer,  deducts  the 
same  from  her  general  efficiency  and  safety.  On  two  occasions  she 
has  been  fitted  for  a  cruise  with  all  the  spare  material  on  board, 
which  rendered  her  dangerously  deep  and  almost  unfit  for  sea,  and 
1  believe  a  very  small  proportion  of  these  sails  and  spare  spars  have 
ever  been  used,  for  the  purpose  for  which  they  were  put  on  board. 

To  remedy  the  difficulties  I  have  enumerated,  I  suggest  that 
the  spars,  including  lower  masts,  be  reduced  to  a  proper  dimension, 
which  would  not  exceed  in  weight  more  than  one  half  the  present 
ones;  this  would  be  a  reduction  of  many  tons,  beside  the  reduction 
of  weight  of  spare  spars,  sails  and  rigging,  the  saving  to  convert  to 
more  useful  purposes  room  which  it  now  occupies,  and  with  this  re- 
duction the  sails,  rigging,  etc.,  would  be  useful,  where  now  it  is  so 
unwieldly  as  not  to  be  used  at  all.  Again,  if  this  reduction  was 
made,  the  sails  and  spars  would  be  proportioned  to  her  crews,  and 
could  then  be  worked  with  ease,  where  now  they  cannot. 

Besides  the  reduction  of  spars,  she  requires  a  reduction  in  the 
weight  of  her  anchors  (she  now  carries  four,  which  weigh  63  cwt. 
each;  she  only  requires  two,  or  if  four,  of  much  less  weight  than  the 
present)  this  would  also  reduce  the  weight  of  chain.     At  no  time  du- 


ring  this  cruise  has  she  required  more  than  two  anchors;  late  in  the 
cruise  a  much  smaller  one  was  substituted  for  one  of  the  above 
weight;  this  has  been  found  sufficient  and  much  less  labor  to  work  it. 

I  am  of  the  opinion  that  a  steamer  is  more  secure  with  two 
anchors  (and  not  extremely  heavy  ones)  than  a  sailing  ship  is  with 
four.  The  engines  themselves  are  a  greater  security  than  two  an- 
chors; hence,  a  steamer  does  not  require  so  great  weight  of  anchor. 

If  the  forgoing  suggestions  were  followed  out  the  Mississippi 
could  then  carry  two  or  four  more  guns,  and  draw  less  water  than  she 
now  does;  her  speed. would  be  augmented  with  the  same  expenditure 
of  coal.  She  would  have  more  room  to  berth  her  crew,  which  she 
much  needs;  her  expenses  would  be  reduced,  and  she  would  be  more 
formidable;  but  if  her  present  spars  are  retained,  all  of  these  quali- 
ties, which  are  so  important  in  a  war  steamer,  will  be  lost. 

In  submitting  these  views,  which  I  have  gathered  from  experi- 
ence on  board  the  Mississippi,  I  have  felt  some  delicacy,  knowing 
that  I  have  ventured  opinions  which  do  not  accord  with  theory. 
What  I  have  submitted  is  based  upon  practical  observations  alone, 
for  the  correctness  and  verity  of  which  I  appeal  to  every  experienc- 
ed officer  who  has  sailed  in  her  any  length  of  time.  I  have  also  had 
opportunity  of  seeing  many  foreign  war  steamers,  particularly  those 
of  England  and  France;  the  difference  between  them  and  the  Missi- 
issippi  is,  they  carry  less  spars  and  more  guns.  1  have  not  seen  a 
war  steamer  of  any  nation  carrying  so  heavy  spars  as  the  Mississippi, 
but  I  have  frequently  met  with  those  of  much  less  tonnage  and 
power,  carrying  a  much  greater  weight  of  battery. 
I  am  very  respectfully, 

Tour  obedient  servant, 

Jesse  Gay, 
Oapt.  John  C.  Long,  Chief  Engineer. 

Com.  U.  S.  Steamer  Mississippi. 


"There's  a  demon, and  he  dwelleth  in  the  drum  ; 
See  the  volunteers  as  down  the  street  they  come. 
Proudly  the  procession  marches, 
Under  bunting,  under  arches, 
To  the  rattle,  rattle,  rattle, 
Like  a  volley  belched  in  battle, 
And  he  saith : 
I  am  Cain  come  again ;  on  my  forehead  is  the  stain. 



Come,  come,  come — 

Unto  Death." — Francis  Z.  Stone. 


IN  Captain  Collum's  excellent  history  of  the  United  States  Marine 
Corps  he  prefaces  his  account  of  the  services  of  the  marines 
during  the  war  of  the  rebellion  with  an  extract  from  Lossing's 
"Civil  War  in  America,"  which  outlines  most  eloquently  the  ser- 
vices rendered  by  the  navy  to  the  nation  during  that  gigantic 
struggle  for  life.  So  correctly  is  the  arduous  and  baffling  character 
of  the  naval  operations  indicated,  and  so  gracefully  is  the  praise  due 
the  navy  accorded,  that  the  author  feels  he  cannot  do  better  than 
introduce  the  same  extract  as  a  prelude  to  what  he  will  have  to  say 
regarding  the  achievements  of  the  naval  engineers  during  that  same 
trying  period. 

"  In  the  spring  of  the  year  1861  a  civil  war  was  kindled  in  the 
United  States  of  America  which  has  neither  a  pattern  in  character 
nor  a  precedent  in  causes  recorded  in  the  history  of  mankind.  It 
appears  in  the  annals  of  the  race  as  a  mighty  phenomenon,  but  not 
an  inexplicable  one.  Gazers  upon  it  at  this  moment,  when  its 
awfully  grand  and  mysterious  proportions  rather  fill  the  mind  with 
wonder  than  excite  the  reason,  look  for  the  half -hid  den  springs  of 
its  existence  in  different  directions  among  the  absurdities  of  theory. 
There  is  a  general  agreement,  however,  that  the  terrible  war  was 
clearly  the  fruit  of  a  conspiracy  against  the  nationality  of  the 
republic,  and  an  attempt,  in  defiance  of  the  laws  of  divine  equity,  to 


establish  an  empire  upon  a  basis  of  injustice  and  a  denial  of  the 

dearest  rights  of  man It  was  the  rebellion  of  an 

oligarchy  against  the   people,  with  whom  the  sovereign  power  is 
rightfully  lodged. 

"  The  services  of  the  national  Navy  during  the  war,  on  account 
of  their  peculiarity,  attracted  less  attention  than  those  of  the  army, 
and  were  not  appreciated  by  the  people.  They  have  an  equal  claim 
to  the  gratitude  of  the  nation,  so  freely  accorded  to  the  other 
branch  of  the  service.  The  Confederates  having  no  navy,  in  a 
proper  sense,  and  only  flotillas  here  and  there,  and  with  some  pow- 
erful '  rams'  on  rivers  and  in  harbors,  and  not  a  ship  on  the  ocean, 
excepting  roving  pirate  vessels, — built,  armed,  furnished,  and 
manned  chiefly  by  the  British,  and  cruising  alone, — there  were  few 
occasions  for  purely  naval  battles.  The  whole  force  of  the  Navy 
Department  was  employed  in  the  services  of  blockade,  in  assisting 
the  attacks  of  the  armies  on  fortifications  along  the  rivers  and  on  the 
borders  of  the  Gulf  and  the  ocean,  or  in  chasing  the  pirates.  In 
these  fields  of  great  usefulness  the  national  vessels  performed  labors 
of  incalculable  value,  and  officers  and  men  exhibited  skill,  valor, 
and  fortitude  unsurpassed. 

"Never  in  the  history  of  the  world  were  there  occasions  for 
such  exhausting  labors  and  highest  courage  in  service  afloat  as  the 
American  Navy  was  subjected  to  in  its  operations  among  the  rivers 
and  bayous  of  the  southwestern  regions  of  the  Republic.  Many  a 
victory  over  which  the  people  have  shouted  themselves  hoarse  in 
giving  plaudits  to  the  gallant  army  might  never  have  been  achieved 
but  for  the  co-operation  of  the  Navy.  To  the  common  observer  it, 
in  many  instances,  seemed  to  be  only  an  auxiliary,  or  wholly  a 
secondary  force,  when,  in  truth,  it  was  an  equal,  if  not  the  chief, 
power  in  gaining  a  victory.  Without  it,  what  might  have  been  the 
result  of  military  operations  at  Forts  Henry  and  Donelson,  Shiloh 
and  all  along  the  Mississippi  River,  especially  at  Vicksburg,  Port 
Hudson,  and  New  Orleans  ;  what  at  Mobile,  Pensacola,  Key  West, 
along  the  Florida  seaboard,  the  sea-coast  islands,  Charleston  and 
the  borders  of  North  Carolina,  and  even  in  holding  Fortress  Monroe 
and  Norfolk  ? 

"Notwithstanding  the  weak  condition  of  the  naval  service,  the 
decree  went  forth,  in  the  spring  of  1861,  that  all   the  ports  of  the 


States  wherein  rebellion  existed  must  be  closed  against  commerce 
by  a  strict  blockade.  Foreign  nations  protested  and  menaced,  but 
the  work  was  done.  There  were  no  dock-yards  or  workmen  adequate 
to  construct  the  vessels  needed  for  the  service,  yet  such  was  the 
energy  of  the  Department  that  an  unrelaxing  blockade  was  main- 
tained for  four  years,  from  the  Capes  of  the  Chesapeake  to  the  Rio 
Grande,  while  a  flotilla  of  gunboats,  protecting  and  aiding  the  army 
in  its  movements,  penetrated  and  patrolled  our  rivers,  through  an 
internal  navigation  almost  continental,  from  the  Potomac  to  the 
Mississippi.  Ingenuity  and  mechanical  skill  developed  amazing  in- 
ventions. That  marine  monster,  the  Monitor,  was  created  and 
began  a  new  era  in  naval  warfare  ;  and  the  world  was  suddenly  en- 
riched by  new  discoveries  in  naval  service.  Vessels  of  the  merchant 
service  were  purchased  and  converted  into  strong  warriors  ;  and  men 
from  that  service  were  invited  to  man  them.  Schools  were  estab- 
lished for  nautical  instruction  ;  dock-yards  were  enlarged  and  filled 
with  workmen  ;  and  very  soon  a  large  number  of  vessels  were 
afloat,  watching  the  harbors  under  the  ban.  No  less  than  two  hun- 
dred and  eight  war  vessels  were  constructed,  and  most  of  them 
fitted  out  during  the  four  years  ;  and  four  hundred  and  eighteen 
vessels  were  purchased  and  converted  into  war  ships. 

' '  The  blockading  service  was  performed  with  great  vigor  and 
efficiency  under  the  triple  stimulus  of  patriotism,  duty,  and  personal 
emolument.  The  British  government  professed  to  be  neutral,  but 
British  merchants  and  adventurers  were  allowed  to  send  swarms  of 
swift-winged  steamers,  laden  with  arms,  ammunition,  clothing,  and 
everything  needed  by  the  insurgents,  to  run  the  blockade.  The 
profits  of  such  operations  were  enormous,  but  the  risks  were  equally 
so  ;  and  it  is  believed  that  a  true  balance-sheet  would  show  no 
profits  left,  in  the  aggregate,  with  the  foreign  violators  of  the  law. 
The  number  of  such  vessels  captured  and  destroyed  during  the  re- 
bellion by  the  national  Navy  was  fifteen  hundred  and  four.  The 
gross  proceeds  of  property  captured  and  condemned  as  lawful  prize 
before  the  first  of  November  following  the  close  of  the  war  amounted 
to  nearly  twenty-two  millions  of  dollars,  which  sum  was  subse- 
quently enlarged  by  new  decisions.  The  value  of  the  vessels  cap- 
tured and  destroyed  (eleven  hundred  and  forty-nine  captured  and 
three  hundred  and  fifty-five  destroyed)  was  not  less  than  seven  mil- 


lion  of  dollars,  making  a  total  loss,  chiefly  to  British  owners,  of  at 
least  thirty  million  of  dollars. ' ' 

It  is  not  believed  that  the  distinguished  historian  from  whose 
work  the  above  is  quoted  has  in  the  least  overstated  the  value  of 
the  services  rendered  the  nation  by  the  navy  daring  the  Civil  War. 
As  the  length  of  time  increases  since  the  conclusion  of  that  struggle, 
we  are  getting  to  study  its  events  more  carefully  and  to  be  more 
critical  in  analyzing  the  exact  relationship  between  causes  and 
effects.  An  analysis  that  was  quite  impracticable  in  the  years 
immediately  succeeding  the  close  of  the  war  because  at  that  time 
men's  minds  were  filled  with  the  magnitude  and  brilliancy  of  the 
achievements  of  an  army  numerically  so  enormous  as  to  eclipse  en- 
tirely the  naval  force,  and  in  which  a  personal  interest  was  com- 
pelled from  the  very  circumstance  of  its  greatness,  which  necessit- 
ated representation  in  its  ranks  of  every  family  within  the  borders 
of  the  nation.  The  blockade  of  the  sea  coast  alone,  of  the  revolted 
territory,  cannot  appear  now  in  any  other  light  than  a  deciding 
factor  in  the  ultimate  conquest  of  the  Confederacy.  Had  the 
Southern  states  been  free  to  ship  their  cotton  to  Europe  and  ex- 
change it  for  provisions  and  munitions  of  war,  who  is  wise  enough  to 
say  when  the  end  would  have  come  ?  Could  the  invasion  of  the 
South  been  possible  had  not  the  naval  force,  hovering  over  the 
coasts  with  ceaseless  vigilance  for  more  than  three  years,  practic- 
ally disarmed  the  Confederacy  and  starved  its  people  into  submis- 
sion by  depriving  them  of  the  benefits  of  commerce  ? 

In  telling  the  story  of  the  maintenance  of  the  blockade  it  is 
impossible  to  give  too  much  credit  for  results  to  the  naval  engineers 
serving  in  the  blockading  squadrons.  A  great  object  in  view  was 
to  keep  the  vessels  in  condition  to  remain  on  their  stations,  for  the 
removal  of  even  one  steamer  at  a  time  meant  the  weakening  of  the 
line,  of  watchers  and  might  involve  a  breaking  of  the  blockade,  and 
this  duty  to  a  great  extent  fell  upon  the  engineers,  for  without 
steam  power — always  ready — the  ships  were  worthless.  In  hastily 
constructed  gunboats,  or  commercial  vessels  as  hastily  equipped  for 
war  purposes,  without  an  adequate  supply  of  engineering  stores  and 
without  proper  tools  or  facilities  for  effecting  repairs,  the  duties  of 
the  engineers  were  the  most  difficult  and  fretting  that  can  be 
imagined;  notwithstanding  which,  they,  as  a  rule  were  found  equal 


to  the  emergencies  that  confronted  them  and  succeeded  in  keeping 
their  ships  and  the  blockade  efficient,  and  this  in  spite  of  the  fact 
that  the  engineering  talent  of  every  sea-port  of  Great  Britain  was 
arrayed  against  them  in  the  effort  to  produce  marine  machinery 
that  could  over-endure  that  of  the  Federal  vessels. 

The  author  has  been  favored  w.ith  a  large  number  of  letters 
from  men  who  as  regular  or  volunteer  engineers  performed  their 
share  in  the  labor  of  making  a  rigorous  blockade  possible,  and  from 
the  recital  of  trials  and  hardships  thus  presented  he  cannot  but  mar- 
vel at  the  faithfulness,  loyalty,  and  thoroughness  of  the  services 
rendered.  The  engineers  shared  with  other  officers  the  dangers  of 
battle,  pestilence,  and  storm,  as  well  as  the  hardships  due  to  im- 
proper food  and  insufficient  clothing,  and  in  addition,  they  had  to 
struggle  constantly  with  the  discouraging  task  of  keeping  old  and 
worn-out,  or  new  and  badly  adjusted,  machinery  in  working  order; 
a  task  that  permitted  no  rest  for  either  body  or  mind.  A  record  of 
the  make-shifts,  alterations,  inventions  and  substitutes  to  which 
these  devoted  men  were  compelled  to  resort  from  sheer  lack  of 
proper  mechanical  appliances  to  aid  them  in  their  labors,  would 
prove  a  most  interesting  chapter  in  the  history  of  man's  ingenuity, 
and  would  be  valuable  to  the  engineers  of  to-day,  even  though  our 
smallest  gun- vessels  now  carry  excellently  equipped  repair  shops, 
and  are  supplied  with  a  veritable  mine  of  tools,  fittings  and  spare 

Had  the  service  been  less  arduous  and  afforded  some  oppor- 
tunities for  rest,  the  possibility  of  securing  it  was  often  wanting. 
Although  absolutely  essential  to  the  well-being  of  the  ship,  in  a 
degree  scarcely  approximated  by  any  other  class  of  officers,  the  en- 
gineer was  too  often  precluded  by  the  nebulous  nature  of  his  relat- 
ive rank  from  occupying  any  but  the  merest  leavings  of  the  quarters 
in  which  he  was  supposed  to  have  a  share.  One  former  member 
of  the  corps  writes  of  an  instance  where  an  engineer  attached  to 
a  small  armed  steamer  was  completely  left  out  in  the  distribution 
of  living  space  and  for  upwards  of  two  years  had  no  home  on  board 
whatever,  except  a  piece  of  canvas  in  form  of  a  tent  under  which 
he  was  allowed  to  sleep,  summer  and  winter,  on  top  of  the  deck 
house.  Numerous  other  instances  have  been  related  to  the  writer 
of  engineers  unprovided  with  quarters  being  obliged  to  sleep  in  the 


hot  drum-rooms  over  the  boilers,  or  who  constructed  for  themselves 
rough  bunks  in  the  engine  rooms  or  shaft  alleys.  These  cases  of 
individual  neglect  and  hardship  fortunately  do  not  stand  as  repre- 
sentative of  the  experience  of  all,  for  in  many  vessels  there  was 
room  even  for  the  engineers,  but  they  serve  to  show  what  discour- 
agements were  encountered  by  a  considerable  number  of  an  invalu- 
able class  of  officers  who  inherited  an  official  position  vastly  inferior 
to  the  value  of  their  services  or  their  real  merits. 

Under  such  circumstances  it  is  remarkable  that  the  engineers 
maintained  their  patriotism  and  devotion  to  duty  as  well  as  they  did, 
the  records  of  the  war  showing,  however,  that  instances  of  defection 
or  faint-heartedness  among  them  were  rare  indeed.  Soon  after  the 
war  closed,  Hear  Admiral  David  D.  Porter,  writing  to  Chief  En- 
gineer W.W.  W.  Wood,  thus  referred  to  his  experience  with  the 
naval  engineers:  "  I  have  had  more  than  two  thousand  engineers 
under  my  command  during  the  Rebellion  and  I  have  never  known 
them  to  shrink  from  any  service."  There  were  of  course  occasional 
instances  of  discouragement  after  prolonged  and  arduous  duty 
where  the  engineer  gave  up  in  despair  and  declared  his  inability 
to  keep  his  department  longer  in  service,  and  there  were  also  a  very 
few  cases  where  the  engineer  allowed  a  wearied  and  disgusted  com- 
manding officer  to  influence  him  into  making  such  a  report  against 
his  judgment.  In  either  case  the  effort  to  get  off  the  blockade  and 
enjoy  a  respite  from  its  toils  at  some  Northern  navy  yard  generally 
came  to  naught. 

After  the  capture  of  Port  Eoyal,  early  in  the  war,  a  naval  sup- 
ply and  repairing  station  was  maintained  at  that  place,  and  there  the 
broken-down  ships  from  the  blockade  were  usually  sent  for  examin- 
ation before  being  allowed  to  proceed  North.  The  mechanical  de- 
partment of  this  station  was  presided  over  by  veteran  chief  engin- 
eers of  the  old  navy,  who  had  long  before  lost  all  the  nonsense  of 
youth  and  were  incapable  of  sympathy  for  their  juniors  who  had 
tales  to  tell  of  what  they  could  not  do.  To  their  minds,  an  engineer 
in  charge  of  a  steamer  in  the  presence  of  the  enemy  ought  to  be  able 
to  do  anything,  and  be  resourceful  enough  to  meet  any  emergency. 
If,  upon  examination,  they  decided  that  the  reported  defects  in  a 
vessel  could  have  been  repaired  at  sea  the  offending  engineer  whose 
report  had  taken  the  vessel  off   her  station   received    very   little 


mercy.  A  report  to  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  squadron  meant 
a  court-martial,  and  that  in  turn  meant  reduction  in  grade  or  sum- 
mary dismissal  from  the  service.  This  may  seem  harsh  and  unchar- 
itable treatment  of  those  whose  duties  at  best  were  trying,  but  indi- 
viduals have  little  right  to  consideration  in  great  national  operations, 
and  their  chief  engineers,  whose  reports  would  have  appeared  cruel 
and  savored  of  persecution  in  time  of  peace,  were  merely  perform- 
ing their  proper  part  in  the  prosecution  of  the  war.  The  service 
rendered  by  them  in  this  manner,  and  in  directing  repairs  to  dis- 
abled ships,  was  of  incalculable  benefit  to  commanders  of  squadrons 
in  carrying  out  the  operations  entrusted  to  them,  a  fact  appreciated 
and  very  properly  referred  to  by  Rear  Admiral  Dahlgren,  who  wrote 
to  the  Department  on  the  occasion  of  relinquishing  command  of  the 
South  Atlantic  Blockading  Squadron  at  the  close  of  the  war:  "  Fleet 
Engineer  Danby  has  been  for  the  last  two  years  in  charge  of  the 
mechanical  steam  department  at  Bay  Point,  where  his  industry  and 
thorough  knowledge  of  his  business  has  alone  enabled  me  to  keep  in 
active  operation  so  many  steamers;  the  first  time,  perhaps,  that  this 
power  has  been  submitted  to  such  a  test. ' ' 

To  those  who  study  the  social  and  industrial  conditions  existing 
within  the  United  States  prior  to  the  Civil  War,  conditions  which 
contributed  fully  as  much  to  the  causes  which  made  that  war  pos- 
sible, as  did  the  political  questions  generally  supposed  to  have  been 
its  provocation,  the  fact  that  the  mechanical  element  of  the  North, 
represented  by  the  engineers  of  the  navy,  had  such  an  important 
part  in  accomplishing  the  conquest  of  the  Confederacy  must  appear 
as  a  most  appropriate  manifestation  of  retributive  justice.  An  arti- 
ficial state  of  society  at  the  South,  founded  upon  the  institution  of 
human  slavery,  had  inculcated  a  genuine  contempt  for  labor  and 
the  industrial  arts,  and  resulted  in  the  utter  neglect  of  the  vast  min- 
eral resources  of  that  region,  now  one  of  its  most  important  sources 
of  wealth,  simply  because  no  one  was  so  low  in  the  social  scale  as  to 
burden  his  mind  with  a  knowledge  of  metallurgy,  which  involved 
practical  experience.  Had  the  South  possessed  the  educated 
scientists,  the  skilled  mechanics,  and  the  innumerable  mills  and 
workshops  that  a  higher  order  of  progress  has  now  given  her,  there 
is  no  telling  when,  or  how  the  war  might  have  ended. 

As  it  was,  when  the  war  broke  out  there  was  but  one  establish- 


ment — the  Tredegar  Iron  Works,  of  Richmond — within  the  limits 
of  the  Confederacy  capable  of  making  the  very  modest  armor  plates 
used  on  the  Merrimac  and  Alb&marle,  while  the  total  number  of 
skilled  artisans  was  probably  exceeded  by  the  number  employed 
in  any  one  of  a  score  or  more  of  Northern  workshops  busily  en- 
gaged in  making  ships,  engines  and  guns  for  the  national  navy. 
When  the  first  supply  of  arms  and  tools  had  been  exhausted,  the 
South  was  unable  to  make  others,  nor  could  she  receive  them  from 
abroad  on  account  of  the  vigilance  of  the  blockading  ships,  kept  up 
to  their  work  by  the  skill  of  the  Northern  engineers.  As  tersely 
expressed  by  Engineer-in-Chief  Isherwood,  in  one  of  his  official  re- 
ports regarding  the  conduct  of  the  war,  "our  antagonists  had 
neither  engineering  skill  nor  resources  in  themselves,  nor  could 
they,  owing  to  the  efficiency  of  our  navy,  obtain  them  from  others, 
and  the  want  was  fatal ;  they  had  despised  the  mechanical  arts  and 
sciences,  and  by  those  arts  and  sciences  they  fell." 


Engineer-in-Chief  of  the  Navy  from  October  16,  1857,  to  March  25,  1861. 


"  Mine  eyes  have  seen  the  glory  of  the  coming  of  the  Lord; 
He  is  trampling  out  the  vintage  where  the  grapes  of  wrath  are  stored; 
He  hath  loosed  the  fateful  lightnings  of  his  terrible  swift  sword; 
His  truth  is  marching  on. 
Julia  Wabd  Howe — Battle-Hymn  of  the  BepubUc. 

1861.  The  Civil  War,  continued — Engineers  and  Steam  Vessels  in  the  Navy  at  the 
Outbreak  of  Hostilities — Resignation  and  Dismissal  of  Officers — B.  F.  Isher- 
wood  Appointed  Engineer-in-Chief  of  the  Navy — Increase  of  the  Engineer 
Corps — Qualifications  of  the  Volunteer  Engineers — Remarkable  Career  of  Don 
Carlos  Hasseltino — Vessels  Added  to  the  Fleet  during  the  Year — The  Keab. 
sabge  and  Canandaigua  Class  of  Steam  Sloops — The  Ninety  Day  Gunboats 
—The  First  Double-Enders. 

AT  the  beginning  of  the  eventful  year  1861  the  engineer  corps  of 
the  navy  consisted  of  twenty-eight  chief  engineers,  forty-three 
first  assistant  engineers,  twenty-nine  Becond  assistant  engineers,  and 
ninety-two  third  assistants,  a  total  of  one  hundred  and  ninety-two. 
This  number  was  established  by  adhering  as  closely  as  practicable  to 
the  provisions  of  the  act  of  Congress  of  1842,  which  authorized  the 
appointment  of  one  chief  engineer,  two  first  assistants,  two  second 
assistants,  and  three  third  assistants  for  each  steam-vessel  of  war. 
The  steam  navy  at  the  beginning  of  1861  consisted  of  six  great  ships, 
of  which  the  Niagara  and  Colorado  were  types,  and  which  in  their 
size,  battery  and  beauty  were  the  marvels  of  the  maritime  world  at 
that  day;  six  first-class  screw  sloops,  everyone  of  which  was  destned 
to  become  famous  in  the  annals  of  the  navy,  and  one  of  which — the 
Hartford — was  to  become  a  name  synonymous  with  naval  glory; 
four  large  side- wheel  steamers,  one  of  which  was  the  Powhatan ; 
eight  second-class  steam-sloops,  represented  in  the  modern  navy  by 
the  Iroquois ;  five  purchased  screw  steamers  of  about  five  hundred 
tons  each,  and  five  small  side  wheel  gunboats,  the  Michigan  of  this 
class  being  still  with  us. 

Twenty-seven  of  the  members  of  the  engineer  corps  were  Vir- 
ginians, and  seven  others  belonged  to  the  Carolinas,  Alabama,  and 
Florida,  but  the  majority  came  from  the  New  England  and  Middle 
States,  Maryland  and  the  District  of  Columbia  beiDg  especially  well 


represented.  The  Northwestern  States,  which  now  furnish  so  many 
naval  engineers  through  the  medium  of  the  Naval  Academy,  then 
had  but  five  representatives — two  each  from  Ohio  and  Wisconsin 
and  one  from  Illinois.  Mr.  Samuel  Archbold  was  the  engineer -in- 
chief  of  the  navy  at  the  beginning  of  the  year,  but  in  March  he 
resigned  that  position  and  his  commission  as  a  chief  engineer  in  the 
navy  as  well,  going  out  of  the  service  without  any  suspicion  of  dis- 
loyalty, as  his  motives  for  resigning  were  personal  and  not  con- 
nected in  any  way  with  the  political  unrest  of  the  times.  He  was 
succeeded  by  Mr.  Benjamin  F.  Isherwood,  who  was  selected  by  the 
President  and  appointed  engineer-in- chief  on  the  26th  day  of 
March,  1861.  Mr.  Isherwood's  name  was  the  fifth  in  order  on  the 
list  of  chief  engineers  at  the  time,  and  he  was  recognized  as  the 
foremost  man  of  his  corps  in  professional  ability  and  zeal,  while 
his  indefatigable  energy  and  intense  patriotism  brought  to  the  head  of 
one  of  the  most  important  executive  branches  of  the  Navy  Depart- 
ment a  man  well  fitted  for  the  Herculean  task  that  the  next  few 
years  had  in  store. 

In  the  spring  of  this  year  the  political  storm  that  had  been 
gathering  for  so  many  years  finally  burst,  and  the  officers  and  men 
of  the  navy  were  confronted  with  the  desperate  issue  of  choosing 
between  two  flags.  Of  the  engineers  from  the  Southern  States  five 
resigned  and  had  their  resignations  accepted  by  the  Department,  but 
by  that  time  resignations  of  officers  of  the  army  and  navy  had  become 
epidemic,  and  President  Lincoln  directed  that  all  such  in  the  future 
be  treated  as  proof  of  disloyalty  sufficient  to  warrant  summary  dis- 
missal from  the  service  of  the  United  States,  which  treatment  was 
administered  to  seventeen  of  the  naval  engineers  who  sent  in  their 
resignations  after  it  was  too  late.  One  of  these,  William  P.  William- 
son, whose  name  had  stood  at  the  head  of  the  list  of  chief  engineers, 
became  the  engineer-in-chief  of  the  Confederate  navy;  a  few  others 
continued  their  profession  in  the  same  service,  while  others  went 
into  the  insurgent  army,  where  some  achieved  considerable  military 
distinction,  and  others  were  killed  or  crippled  fighting  against  the 
flag  under  which  they  had  acquired  their  first  military  ideas,  and  to 
which  they  would  have  remained  loyal  had  they  been  inspired  by 
that  thoughtful  good  judgment  supposed  to  be  an  attribute  of  all  en- 
gineers by  the  virtue  of  philosophic  nature  of  their  calling. 


In  July,  1861,  Congress  provided  for  a  temporary  increase  of 
the  navy  ' '  for  and  during  the  present  insurrection, ' '  which  act  au- 
thorized the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  hire,  purchase,  or  contract  for 
such  vessels  as  might  be  found  necessary,  to  arm  and  equip  them, 
and  to  appoint  acting  or  volunteer  officers  for  them.  Under  the 
operation  of  this  law  the  navy  grew  rapidly  both  in  ships  and  m per- 
sonnel: such  vessels  as  were  bought  outright  or  built  on  the  order  of  the 
Navy  Department  became,  of  course,  government  war-vessels,  and 
as  such  served  to  authorize  a  great  increase  in  the  regular  engineer 
corps,  a  considerable  increase  being  effected  during  the  first  year  of 
the  war,  but  not  at  all  in  proportion  to  the  increase  in  the  number  of 
war  steamers,  as  the  officials  of  the  Navy  Department  were  wise 
enough  to  know  that  the  rebellion  would  eventually  be  put  down, 
and  it  was  only  a  question  of  time  before  the  navy  would  have  to  be 
re-established  on  a  peace  basis.  Accordingly  the  majority  of  the 
new  engineers  held  only  acting  appointments.  At  the  end  of  the 
year  1861  the  regular  engineer  establishment  had  increased  to  four 
hundred  and  four,  of  whom  forty-eight  were  chief  engineers;  at  the 
same  time  there  were  three  hundred  and  sixty-four  acting  engineers 
distributed  through  the  grades  of  first,  second  and  third  assistants. 
The  increase  in  numbers  went  steadly  on  until,  in  January,  1865, 
there  were  four  hundred  and  seventy-four  regulars  and  eighteen 
hundred  and  three  volunteers,  of  which  numbers  fifty-nine  regulars 
and  fifty-  five  volunteers  were  chief  engineers. 

In  spite  of  all  the  hurry,  excitement,  and  anxiety  incident  to  the 
existence  of  a  state  of  war,  it  is  greatly  to  the  credit  of  the  officials 
at  the  head  of  the  engineer  corps  that  the  careful  system  of  examina- 
tions for  admission  to  the  regular  service  was  rigidly  adhered  to 
throughout  the  war,  thus  preventing  the  acquisition  to  the  permanent 
corps  of  any  who  were  not  professionally  and  morally  fit  for  the  ser- 
vice. In  the  case  of  acting  appointments  in  the  volunteer  service 
little  or  no  examination  was  required,  the  need  for  engineers  being 
so  great  that  almost  any  one  who  could  show  a  letter  of  recommenda- 
tion from  a  commander  or  chief  engineer  of  a  war-vessel,  or  from  a 
civilian  of  prominence,  could  get  an  acting  appointment.  The  ma- 
jority of  the  acting  engineers  were  men  who  were  really  engineers, 
many  of  them  being  of  recognized  ability  and  reputation  in  their 
line,  who  entered  the  service  from  motives  of  patriotism,  and  natur- 


ally  chose  the  engineering  branch  of  the  navy  in  preference  to  wad- 
ing through  the  mud,  either  with  or  without  a  sword,  in  the  army. 

Numbers  of  the  volunteer  engineers  were  men  who  belonged  to 
the  profession  of  civil  engineering  and  were  attracted  to  the  en- 
gineer corps  of .  the  navy  by  the  similarity  of  names,  when  they 
made  up  their  minds  to  enter  the  military  service  of  the  govern, 
ment.  These  gentlemen,  with  possibly  a  few  exceptions,  began 
with  no  practical  knowledge  of  marine  machinery,  but  with  their  ex- 
cellent training  in  matters  relating  to  civil  engineering  they  were 
quick  to  learn  and  in  a  short  time  became  among  the  best  acting 
engineers.  Several  of  them  entered  the  regular  service  by  taking 
the  prescribed  examinations  and,  both  during  the  war  and  since, 
have  been  professionally  prominent  in  the  corps.  As  was  often  the 
case  in,  the  army,  many  men  of  education  and  ability  served  in  sub- 
ordinate positions  in  the  navy  solely  because  they  wished  to  serve 
their  country  in  its  day  of  need,  and  such  men  were  generally  ap- 
preciated and  promoted  to  official  positions  after  short  periods  of 
faithful  service  as  subordinates.  A  case  in  point  is  that  of  Mr.  P. 
J.  McMahon,  a  civil  engineer  employed  on  the  Boston  and  Worces- 
ter Railway,  who  was  a  personal  friend  of  the  chief  engineer  of  the 
San  Jacinto,  and  was  very  desirous  of  going  to  sea  with  him  as  an 
acting  engineer.  The  plan  was  prevented  by  the  San  Jacinto  hur- 
riedly going  to  sea  at  a  time  when  her  complement  was  filled,  with 
the  exception  of  one  coal  heaver,  but  Mr.  McMahon  was  determined 
to  go,  and  accordingly  took  the  vacant  billet.  He  cheerfully  did 
duty  as  a  fireman,  oiler  and  yeoman  until,  in  about  a  year,  he  re- 
ceived the  coveted  warrant  as  an  acting  third  assistant  engineer; 
promotion  to  second  assistant  came  not  long  afterward,  and  the 
close  of  the  war  found  him  a  first  assistant  in  charge  of  the  machin- 
ery of  the  Mahaska; 

Mr.  McMahon's  predecessor  as  engineer  in  charge  of  the 
Mahaska  furnishes  a  curious  example  of  motive,  in  seeking  service 
in  the  volunteer  engineer  corps.  The  Atlantic  Works  of  Boston  did 
a  tremendous  business  from  the  very  beginning  of  the  war  in  build- 
ing ships  and  machinery  for  the  navy,  and  when  the  owners  found 
themselves  getting  rich  by  staying  at  home  they  came  to  the  very 
proper  conclusion  that  some  one  having  a  proprietary  interest  in  the 
business  must  represent  the  patriotism  of  the  firm  by  going  to  the 


war.  Accordingly,  the  proprietors  cast  lots  and  Mr.  Philander  S. 
Brown  was  elected  to  go  to  the  front.  He  chose  the  engineer  corps 
of  the  navy  for  his  field  of  usefulness,  asked  for,  and  received  a 
warrant  as  acting  first  assistant  engineer,  and  served  as  chief 
engineer  of  the  Mahaska  until  the  war  was  over,  when  he  resigned 
and  returned  to  his  home  and  business  interests. 

As  might  be  expected,  and  as  often  occcurred  in  the  other 
branches  of  the  navy,  some  acting  appointments  were  given  to  men 
who  were  unqualified  for  the  duties  they  were  expected  to  perform 
on  board  a  war  steamer.  Adventurers  who  saw  in  the  seven  hun- 
dred and  fifty  dollars  per  annum  of  the  "Acting  Third"  in  the  navy 
more  attraction  than  was  offered  by  thirteen  dollars  per  month  and 
found  in  the  ranks  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  ;  firemen  recom- 
mended by  their  captains  for  some  gallant  or  meritorious  act ;  sons 
or  friends  of  prominent  military  and  civil  officials;  subalterns 
disgusted  with  the  Chickahominy  swamps,  and  many  other  classes 
too  numerous  to  mention,  all  had  their  representatives  in  the  volun- 
teer engineer  corps.  As  there  were  from  four  to  ten  engineers  on 
each  war  steamer  in  those  days,  the  presence  of  one  of  these  inex- 
perienced persons  was  not  dangerous,  as  he  was  always  under  the 
eye  of  some  one  who  was  able  to  prevent  disaster  by  interfering  in 
case  of  necessity.  When  a  number  of  them  happened  to  get 
shuffled  together,  as  sometimes  occurred,  and  thus  obliged  to  try  to  do 
something  without  being  told  how  to  do  it,  they  generally  came  to 
grief,  as  is  attested  by  innumerable  tales  in  the  service. 

One  of  these  stories  relates  to  the  wearing  away  of  the  valve 
faces  and  seats  of  the  engine  of  one  of  the  new  sloops-of-war  on 
one  of  her  first  sea  trips.  The  acting  engineer  in  charge  of  the 
machinery  had  been  in  the  regular  service  and  was  a  competent  en- 
gineer, but,  unfortunately  for  the  vessel,  he  was  confined  to  his 
room  by  illness  on  the  voyage  referred  to.  Of  the  four  acting  as- 
sistant engineers,  one  only  had  any  experience  with  machinery 
and  that  was  limited  to  fire-room  work,  he  having  been  a  fireman 
promoted  as  a  reward  for  some  act  of  bravery  in  an  emergency ;  his 
scholastic  attainments  were  extremely  limited  and  stopped  short  at 
the  problem  of  subtracting  the  hourly  records  of  the  engine-room 
counter  and  dividing  the  remainder  by  sixty  to  find  the  average 
revolutions  of  the  engines  per  minute,  a  problem  that  he  never 


mastered,  and  which  finally  drove  him  back  into  the  fire-room,  where 
he  found  more  familiar  tools  to  handle  than  pencils  and  paper. 
This  case  had  numerous  parallels  in  the  line  as  well  as  in  the  en- 
gineer corps  during  the  war,  and  is  a  good  illustration  of  the  folly 
of  making  officers  of  enlisted  men  simply  as  a  reward  for  gallantry 
in  battle,  without  any  regard  for  the  fitness  of  the  person  to  perform 
the  duties  of  the  office  to  which  he  is  advanced. 

Another  of  the  acting  engineers  was  a  village  schoolmaster 
from  the  up-country  of  New  Hampshire,  whose  knowledge  of 
marine  engines  had  been  obtained  from  a  picture  of  a  condensing 
engine  in  Olmstead's  "Principles  of  Natural  Philosophy,"  at  that. 
time  a  favorite  text  book  in  the  country  schools  of  New  England. 
The  third  one  was  a  youth  of  about  seventeen,  who  had  been  the 
schoolmaster's  favorite  pupil  in  the  New  Hampshire  village,  and 
who  had  joined  him  in  the  enterprise  of  suppressing  the  rebellion 
through  the  medium  of  the  naval  engineer  corps.  The  fourth  acting 
engineer  had  gained  such  engineering  knowledge  as  he  possessed 
by  having  been  the  captain  of  a  tug  boat.  Although  well  meaning 
and  inspired  with  a  desire  to  do  their  best,  these  amateur  engineers 
in  some  way  managed  to  overlook  in  turn  the  necessity  of  having 
the  steam  chests  oiled,  and,  as  a  result,  the  valves  and  seats  at  the 
end  of  the  trip  were  found  to  be  reduced  to  little  more  than  a  heap 
of  iron  filings,  and  the  ship  was  kept  from  active  service  many 
weeks  in  consequence  while  damages  were  being  repaired. 

Another  incident  which  occurred  about  the  same  time  was  not 
the  source  of  any  great  amount  of  delight  to  the  acting  engineers 
directly  concerned.  A  war  steamer  left  New  York  for  the  seat  of 
war  one  fine  day,  the  commander  and  all  hands  indulging  in  high 
hopes  of  glory  and  prize  money.  After  a  few  hours  at  sea  the 
engine  suddenly  stopped,  and  then  began  running  backward  at  a 
furious  rate;  do  what  they  would,  the  engineers  could  not  coerce 
the  engine  into  going  ahead  again,  and  finally  the  captain  had  to 
ignominiously  abandon  his  cruise  and  take  his  ship,  tail  first,  back 
to  New  York,  an  object  of  surprise  and  derision  to  the  watermen  of 
that  busy  seaport.  The  navy  yard  was  reached  in  the  course  of 
time,  where  a  few  vigorous  remarks  from  the  chief  engineer  of  the 
yard  and  about  two  minutes  work  put  everything  to  rights.  The 
eccentric  had  slipped. 







The  volunteer  engineer  who  was  not  an  engineer  did  not  always 
get  into  trouble,  as  is  shown  by  the  successful  experience  of  one 
Don  Carlos  Hasseltino,  whose  remarkable  naval  career  is  worthy  of 
a  little  space  in  the  history  of  the  naval  engineering  of  the  rebellion. 
This  gentleman  was  a  native  of  the  West  Indies,  but  had  graduated 
at  a  college  in  Ohio,  and  at  the  time  of  the  outbreak  of  the  war  was 
reading  law  in  Hamilton,  Ohio.  His  sympathies  being  with  the 
South,  he  went  to  Montgomery,  Alabama,  and  entered  the  Confed- 
erate army,  rising  to  the  rank  of  lieutenant-colonel  in  about  two 
years,  when  he  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy  in  the  vicinity  of 
.Fort  Donelson.  Pretending  to  be  a  civilian  and  a  foreigner,  which 
he  could  easily  do  by  his  ability  to  speak  French,  he  succeeded  in 
getting  a  pass  from  the  Union  officer  in  command  at  Memphis,  and 
went  to  St.  Louis,  not  knowing  just  why  he  was  going  there  or  what 
he  would  do  next. 

In  the  streets  of  St.  Louis  he  chanced  to  meet  a  former  college 
mate  who  was  an  assistant  engineer  on  one  of  the  gunboats  in  the 
Mississippi  River.  This  friend  urged  him  to  give  up  the  Confeder- 
ate cause  and  enter  the  navy  as  an  engineer,  to  which  proposal  he 
demurred,  as  he  said  he  "did  not  know  a  steam  engine  from  a  horse 
power, "  but  his  friend  assured  him  that  did  not  make  any  dif- 
ference. Accordingly,  and  knowing  that  he  would  probably  be 
hsnged  as  a  spy  if  his  connection  with  the  South  were  discovered,  he 
studied  some  of  the  assistant  engineer's  books  for  a  few  weeks  and 
then  presented  himself  to  the  authorities  as  a  candidate  for  the  en- 
gineer corps.  He  made  such  a  good  impression  that  he  was  given 
an  acting  appointment  as  a  first  assistant  engineer,  and  was  ordered 
to  duty  on  board  the  Essex,  then  the  flag-ship  of  Rear-Admiral 
D.  D.  Porter. 

According  to  Mr.  Hasseltino's  account  of  himself,his  great  fear 
at  this  time  was  that  the  Essex  would  be  ordered  to  get  under  way 
to  go  somewhere,  and  he  would  consequently  be  called  upon  to  do 
something  with  the  machinery,  which  he  knew  he  could  not  do,  his 
mechanical  knowledge  being  yet  so  imperfect  that  he  thought  the 
feed-pump  was  a  contrivance  for  making  the  vessel  go  sidewise. 
But  luck  was  on  his  side,  for  he  had  opportunities  to  talk  with  Ad- 
miral Porter,  and  so  impressed  that  distinguished  officer  with  his 
professional  worth  that  he  was  put  upon  the  Admiral's  staff  and  as- 


signed  to  important  special  duty  in  connection  with  the  building  and 
inspection  of  ironclads  at  various  points  on  the  Mississippi  River. 
A  report  made  by  him  to  the  admiral  respecting  the  value  of  certain 
types  of  ironclads  for  river  service  was  considered  so  meritorious 
that  the  admiral  embodied  it  in  his  report  to  the  Secretary  of  the 
Navy,  and  that  official  in  turn  transmitted  it  to  Congress  in  his  an- 
nual report. 

In  May,  1864,  after  less  than  a  year's  service,  Mr.  Hasseltino 
was  made  an  acting  chief  engineer,  in  which  capacity  he  continued 
on  duty  with  the  Mississippi  flotilla;  two  years  later,  in  May,  1866, 
he  was  honorably  mustered  out  of  the  service.  Subsequently  he 
acquired  the  title  of  general  and  considerable  wealth  by  engaging 
in  various  wars  in  Chile,  Peru,  and  Cuba,  but  with  this  we  need  not 
deal  here.  Acting  Assistant  Surgeon  J.  M.  Batten  has  written  an 
interesting  little  volume  of  reminiscences  of  his  service  in  the  navy 
during  the  war,  in  which  book  occurs  the  following  account  of  the 
person  whose  versatile  career  has  just  been  described: 

"  Don  Carlos  Hasseltino  was  chief  engineer  of  the  United 
States  monitor  Catawba,  but  spent  most  of  his  time  ou  board  the 
United  States  monitor  Oneota,and  was  one  of  the  messmates  of  that 
vessel.  I  associated  with  him  constantly  from  October  6,  1865,  to 
January  16,  1866.  He  was  a  jolly,  kind,  sympathetic  and  intelli- 
gent associate.  In  height  he  was  about  six  feet,  and  had  a  large, 
wiry  frame.  His  hair  and  eyes  were  black;  he  wore  a  black  mus- 
tache. He  never  gave  offense  to  any  one,  but  would  not  suffer 
himself  to  be  insulted.  He  carried  two  Derringers  in  leather 
pockets  buttoned  to  his  pantaloons  above  the  hips.  He  was  very 
polite  and  chivalrous;  woe  to  the  person  that  gave  offense  or  offered 

The  progress  made  in  increasing  the  fleet  during  the  year  1861 
was  phenomenal.  Mr.  George  D.  Morgan  of  New  York  was  ap- 
pointed a  special  agent  of  the  Navy  Department  with  orders  to  buy 
every  American  merchant  vessel  found  at  all  suitable  for  war  purpo- 
ses, in  the  selection  of  which  he  was  aided  by  a  board  of  officers  of 
the  navy — a  constructor,  a  chief  engineer,  and  an  ordnance  officer. 
This  board  had  a  small  steamer  in  New  York  harbor  and  made  a 
business  of  boarding  and  examining  every  American  vessel  within 













































reach,  a  favorable  report  on  any  vessel  making  it  obligatory  on  Mr. 
Morgan's  part  to,  buy  the  vessel  at  the  best  bargain  he  could  make 
with  the  owners.  As  Mr.  Morgan  received  a  commission  of  two  and 
one-half  per  cent,  on  his  purchases  this  obligation  to  buy,  was  for 
him,  a  decidedly  good  thing.  From  the  middle  of  July  until  the  first 
of  December  there  were  purchased  in  this  manner  thirty-six  side- 
wheel  steamers  aggregating  26,680  tons  and  costing  $2,418,103; 
forty-three  screw  steamers  aggregating  20,403  tons  and  costing  $2,- 
215,037,  and  one  hundred  and  eighteen  sailing  vessels — ships,  barks 
and  schooners — at  a  cost  of  $1,071,898.  Sixty  of  these  latter  were 
loaded  with  stone  and  sunk  for  the  purpose  of  closing  some  of  the 
southern  ports;  the  others,  and  all  of  the  steamers,  were  converted 
into  war  vessels  and  put  into  active  service. 

At  the  same  time  that  merchant  vessels  were  being  pressed  into 
service,  the  navy  yards  and  private  ship  and  engine  building  estab- 
lishments were  worked  to  their  utmost  capacity  in  building  war  ves- 
sels. By  the  end  of  the  year,  fifty-two  such  vessels  were  entirely 
completed  and  in  service  or  were  well  along  in  construction.  None 
of  the  navy  yards  were  then  equipped  for  the  building  of  engines  on 
a  large  scale,  which  work  therefore  had  to  be  let  out  by  contract  to 
marine  engine  builders,  the  machinery  specifications  in  the  majority 
of  cases  being  furnished  by  the  Navy  Department  from  designs  of 
Engineer-in-Ohief  Isherwood.  Excellent  plants  for  building  wooden 
ships  existed  at  the  navy  yards  and  many  of  the  hulls  of  these  rapid- 
ly constructed  vessels  were  built  by  the  Government  at  the  different 
yards  while  their  machinery  was  under  construction  at  neighboring 
machine  shops. 

The  ship  and  engine  building  work  of  the  Navy  Department 
now  assumes  such  magnitude  that  space  forbids  the  practice  previously 
observed  in  these  pages  of  giving  detailed  information  as  to  the  de- 
signers and  builders  of  the  various  vessels,  their  machinery,  arma- 
ment, cost,  and  subsequent  naval  careers,  although  it  is  hoped  that 
the  value  of  this  work  will  be  enhanced  by  its  appendix,  in  which 
much  of  the  information  referred  to  is  given  in  tabular  form.  Hence- 
forth it  will  be  necessary  to  refer  to  new  vessels  in  general  terms 
only,  except  in  certain  special  cases  where  peculiarities  of  design  or 
remarkable  engine  performance  occasion  so  much  interest  from  an 
engineering  point  of  view  that  a  more  detailed  history  of  their  origin 
is  desirable. 


In  February,  1861,  Congress  authorized  the  construction  of 
seven  sloops-of-war,  and  the  Navy  Department,  to  take  advantage 
of  the  plans  already  in  its  possession  of  the  sloops  built  in  1858, 
duplicated  the  Iroquois  in  the  Oneida,  the  Wyoming  in  the  Tusca- 
rora,  the  Mohiccm  in  the  LCearsarge,  and  the  engines  of  the  Seminole 
in  the  Wachusett.  These  vessels  were  of  about  1,560  tons  displace- 
ment. By  subsequent  action  of  Congress,  at  the  special  session, 
authority  was  granted  to  build  other  sloops  of  war,  similar  to  those 
previously  ordered,  making  fourteen  in  all,  and  work  on  them  was 
begun  in  the  early  fall  of  the  year.  These  sloops-of-war,  besides 
those  already  named,  were  the  Juniata,  Ossipee,  Adirondack,  Sous- 
atonic,  Sacramento,  Canandaigua,  Lackawanna,  Ticonderoga,  Shen- 
andoah, and  Monon.gafi.ela.  The  first  four  named  were  of  1,934 
tons  displacement,  and  the  other  six,  differing  somewhat  in  size 
from  each  other,  were  of  about  2,200  tons.  The  hulis  of  all  four- 
teen were  built  by  the  Government  at  the  navy  yards,  three  each  at 
Portsmouth,  N.  H.,  and  Boston,  and  four  each  at  New  York  and 
Philadelphia,  the  machinery  being  built  by  contract  at  various 
places  in  New  England,  New  York  and  Philadelphia. 

These  fourteen  steam  sloops  were  large,  handsome  vessels  and 
did  much  excellent  service  during  the  war  and  afterward.  The  only 
one  still  remaining  in  the  service  is  the  Monongahela,  which,  with 
her  machinery  removed,  is  used  as  a  training  ship  in  which  naval 
cadets  and  apprentice  boys  acquire  those  arboreal  habits  supposed  to 
be  essential  in  the  training  of  modern  men-of-war's  men.  With  the 
disappearance  of  this  class  of  vessels  we  have  suffered  what  the 
author  regards  as  a  most  serious  loss  in  the  removal  from  the  navy 
list  of  those  sonorous  and  distinctively  American  names,  like  Can- 
andaigua, Oneida,  Lackawanna,  Tuscarora,  Shenandoah,  and  the 
like,  which  were  sufficient  in  themselves  to  proclaim  the  nationality 
of  the  vessel  bearing  them,  and  at  the  same  time  precluded  by  their 
derivation  from  adoption  by  foreign  navies,  except  inappropriately. 
Oui-  Ajax,  Dolphin,  Petrel,  Vesuvius,  and  others,  always  have  their 
namesakes  in  other  navies,  and  imply  a  poverty  of  resource  on  our 
part  wholly  undeserved  in  view  of  the  great  multitude  of  beautiful 
and  euphonious  words  that  have  become  part  of  our  American  lan- 
guage in  the  names  the  vanished  tribes  of  aborigines  gave  to  their 
hills  and  forests,  rivers  and  lakes. 



&    3 






Before  work  on  the  fourteen  sloops  heretofore  named  had  been 
undertaken,  the  Navy  Department,  acting  on  its  own  responsibility 
in  the  emergency,  without  waiting  for  the  sanction  of  Congress, 
issued  proposals  and  entered  into  contracts  with  different  builders 
for  the  construction  of  twenty-three  small,  heavily-armed  screw  gun- 
boats, of  about  500  tons  burden,  which,  from  the  rapidity  of  their 
construction  came  to  be  known  in  the  service  as  ' '  ninety-day  gun- 
boats. ' '  The  contracts  were  nearly  all  made  during  the  first  two 
weeks  in  July,  and  work  was  pushed  to  such  an  extent  that  four  of 
them  were  in  the  battle  of  Port  Royal  on  the  seventh  of  November, 
and  seventeen  of  them  were  in  active  service  before  the  end  of  the 
year.  Their  names  were:  Huron,  Sagamore,  Itasca,  Sciota,  Ken- 
nebec, Kvneo,  Aroostook,  Chippewa,  Cayuga.  Chocura,  Kanawha, 
Katahdin,  Marblehead,  Ottawa,  Owasco,  Pembina,  Penobscot,  Pin- 
ola,  Seneca,  Tahoma,   Unadilla,   Wissahiclcon,  and  Winona. 

The  machinery  of  the  first  four  named  was  constructed  by  the 
Novelty  Iron  Works,  New  York,  which  establishment  duplicated  in 
them  the  machinery  it  had  previously  put  into  two  gunboats 
built  for  the  Russian  government.  The  machinery  for  the  other 
nineteen  was  built  by  various  contractors  from  designs  and  specifi- 
cations furnished  by  Engineer-in- Chief  Isherwood,  and  was  some- 
what similar  to  that  of  the  first  four,  but  with  about  sixty  per  cent, 
more  boiler  power.  The  hulls  of  all  these  gunboats  were  built  by 

For  service  in  shallow  and  narrow  rivers  a  new  and  peculiar 
type  of  gunboat  was  developed  in  the  "  double-enders, "  twelve  of 
which  were  begun  during  the  summer  and  fall  of  1861.  These  were 
pointed  at  both  ends  and  had  a  rudder  at  each  end,  being  thus 
freed  from  the  necessity  of  turning  around  by  being  able  to  steam 
at  equal  advantage  in  either  direction.  Paddle  wheels  had  become 
practically  obsolete  for  war  vessels,  but  the  imperative  demand  for 
very  light  draft  in  these  gunboats  made  it  necessary  to  adopt  side 
wheels  for  their  propulsion.  They  were  the  Maratanza,  Mahaska, 
Sebago,  Octorora,  Sonoma,  Conemaugh,  Tioga,  Genessee,  Miami, 
Paul  Jones,  Port  Royal,  and  Cimmerone.  They  were  of  850  tons 
burden.  The  engines  were  built  by  contract  from  Mr.  Isherwood 's 
plans,  and  were  of  the  direct-acting  inclined  type.  All  had  Bartol's 
vertical  water  tube  boilers,  except  the  Paul  Jones,  which  had  Mar- 


BARTOI.'S    VKKTUM.    WATKR-TII1K    lit  .|  I  l.l;.    I'SKll    IN    l»n  l;il.  IMWi-   OF   THE    "<XTORORa"    CLASS. 


tin's  boilers.  All  had  blowers  for  forcing  the  draft.  The  hulls  of 
the  last  three-named  were  built  by  contract,  and  the  other  nine  in 
the  navy  yards. 

Besides  the  forty-nine  steamers  already  referred  to,  three  iron- 
clad war  vessels  were  undertaken  during  this  same  busy  year. 
These,  being  a  new  departure  in  naval  construction  and  marking  a 
development  in  that  direction  exactly  in  line  with  the  naval  engin- 
eer's profession,  will  be  described  in  a  separate  chapter.  To  quote 
from  the  report  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  regarding  the  war- ship 
building  of  the  year,  "No  sailing  vessels  ha^e  been  ordered  to  be 
built,  for  steam  as  well  as  heavy  ordnance,  has  become  an  indispens- 
able element  of  the  most  efficient  naval  power." 


"  I  have  seen  him  in  the  watch-ares  of  a  hundred  circling  camps; 
They  have  builded  him  an  altar  in  the  evening  dews  and  damps ; 
I  have  read  his  righteous  sentence  by  the  dim  and  flaring  lamps  ; 

His  day  is  marching  on." 
Julia  Wakd  Howe — Battle-Hymn  of  the  Republic. 

1861.  The  Civil  War,  Continued— The  Norfolk  Navy  Yard— Attempt  to  Save  the 
Frigate  Merbimac— Endeavors  of  Engineer-in-Chief  Isherwood— Destruction 
of  the  Yard — Attack  on  Hatteras  Inlet — Destruction  of  the  Privateer  Judah 
at  Fensacola. 

WITH  the  exception  of  two  events  in  the  career  of  the  frigate 
Chesapeake  early  in  the  present  century,  there  are  few  inci- 
dents in  our  naval  history  more  humiliating  than  the  loss  of  several 
of  our  national  vessels  at  the  Norfolk  navy  yard  at  the  beginning 
of  the  rebellion.  So  utterly  lacking  is  this  affair  in  redeeming  fea- 
tures that  it  would  be  gladly  passed  over  without  comment  were  it 
not  for  the  fact  that  the  principal  efforts  to  save  the  nation's  honor 
and  property  on  that  occasion  were  the  outcome  of  the  zeal  and  pa- 
triotism of  two  naval  engineers,  and  for  that  reason  the  story  must 
be  told  as  a  necessary  part  of  this  history. 

The  navy  yard  at  Norfolk,  Virginia,  at  the  beginning  of  1861 
was  the  largest  and  most  important  of  the  government  navy  yards. 
It  was  one  of  the  oldest  in  date  of  establishment  and  the  most  com- 
pletely equipped  with  wharves,  docks,  ship-houses,  workshops,  and 
store-houses.  Great  quantities  of  naval  material  and  stores  had  been 
assembled  there  prior  to  the  outbreak  of 'the  rebellion,  among  other 
war  material  there  being  about  twelve  hundred  cannon  of  various 
types,  mostly  serviceable,  although  some  of  the  guns  were  of  very 
ancient  patterns;  fifty-two.  according  to  the  inventory  made  by  the 
Confederates  immediately  after  they  took  possession  of  the  yard, 
were  new  nine-inch  Dahlgren  guns,  at  that  time  formidable  pieces 
of  ordnance. 

At  the  beginning  of  April,  1861,  the  following  named  vessels 
were  lying  at  the  Norfolk  Yard:  the  new  steam  frigate  Merrimac,  of 


forty  guns;  the  sloops-of-war  Oermantown  and  Plymouth,  oi  twenty  - 
two  guns  each;  the  brig  Dolphin,  of  four  guns;  the  old  ships-of-the. 
line  Pennsylvania, Delaware  and  Cohi/mbus;  the  frigates  United  States, 
Raritan  and  Columbia;  and  the  sloop-of-war  Cumberland.  An  un- 
finished ship-of-the-line  named  the  New  York  was  on  the  stocks  in 
one  of  the  ship  houses.  The  Merrimac  was  one  of  those  large  and 
beautiful  steam  frigates  of  which  the  Navy  was  then  so  justly  proud. 
She  had  made  one  cruise,  as  flagship  of  the  Pacific  Station,  and  had 
been  laid  up  in  the  Norfolk  yard  for  an  extensive  overhauling  of  her 
machinery.  The  sloops  Germantown  and  Plymouth  were  completely 
equipped  for  sea,  but  had  no  crews  on  board,  and  the  Dolphin  could 
have  been  made  ready  for  sea  in  a  few  hours.  The  frigate  United 
States  was  the  same  vessel,  rebuilt,  that  had  defeated  and  captured 
the  British  frigate  Macedonian  in  1812.  The  Pennsylvania  was  in 
commission  as  the  receiving  ship  and  was  famous  as  being  the  largest 
ship-of-the-line  ever  built  for  our  navy,  mounting  one  hundred  and 
twenty  guns  and  being  rated  as  of  3,241  tons,  old  measurement,  which 
is  little  more  than  one-half  the  present  rating  by  tons  displacement. 
The  other  large  battle  ships  of  that  time — the  North  Carolina,  Ver- 
mont and  others — carried  eighty-four  guns  and  were  of  about  2,600 
tons.  The  Cumberland  was  the  flagship  of  the  home  squadron  and 
had  just  arrived  at  the  yard  after  the  usual  winter  cruise  in  Southern 
waters.  She  was  saved  from  the  destruction  that  followed,  but  less 
than  a  year  later  was  destroyed  by  the  Merrimac,  which  vessel  by 
all  rights  should  have  been  the  one  to  have  towed  her  and  the  other 
sailing  vessels  to  a  place  of  safety. 

The  navy  yard  was  commanded  by  Captain  Charles  S.  McCau- 
ley,  a  native  of  Pennsylvania,  who,  according  to  the  custom  then 
prevailing,  was  addressed  as  Commodore.  The  twelve  other  line 
officers  associated  with  him  were  natives  of  southern  states,  seven  of 
them  being  Virginians;  three  of  the  four  medical  officers  were  Vir- 
ginians, and  a  majority  of  the  other  staff  and  warrant  officers  was 
likewise  of  southern  nativity.  These  officers  had  been  assigned  to 
this  station  by  the  previous  administration  and  the  fact  that  the  pre- 
ponderance of  southerners  among  them  was  so  great  makes  it  reas- 
onably certain  that  there  was  more  method  than  chance  in  their 
selection.  The  Chief  Engineer  of  the  yard,  Mr.  Robert  Danby,  was  a 
native  of  Delaware  and  could  be  depended  upon  to  stand  by  his 


colors,  for  the  inhabitants  of  that  little  State  have  been  distinguished 
for  loyalty  and  patriotism  ever  since  the  '  'Blue  Hen's  Chickens, ' ' 
as  the  Delaware  Regiment  was  called,  made  such  an  enviable  record 
in  the  Continental  Army. 

One  of  the  first  acts  of  the  new  engineer-in-chief  was  to  call 
the  attention  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  the  possibility  of  get- 
ting the  Merrimac  away  from  Norfolk,  and  it  is  certain  that  had  it 
not  been  for  him  no  effort  to  that  end  would  have  been  made.  The 
Secretary's  mind  was  engrossed  with  too  many  other  important 
matters  to  give  any  thought  to  this  particular  subject  unless  it  had 
been  urged  upon  him  and,  indeed,  it  is  more  than  probable,  as  he 
had  been  in  office  less  than  one  month,  and  that  month  a  most  harras- 
sing  one,  that  he  did  not  even  know  that  the  Merrimac  was  at  Nor- 
folk. Mr.  Isherwood  was  familiar  with  the  Norfolk  yard  and  as 
the  work  on  the  Merrvmac's  machinery  was  an  important  detail  of 
his  office,  the  subject  of  saving  the  ship  naturally  suggested  itself 
to  his  mind.  By  corresponding  with  chief  engineer  Danby,  Mr. 
Isherwood  had  learned  of  the  exact  state  of  affairs,  including  the 
information  that  the  Confederates  counted  surely  on  having  the 
Merrimac  as  a  nucleus  for  their  future  navy,  which  intention  Mr. 
Isherwood  determined  to  defeat  if  possible.  With  this  knowledge 
he  repeatedly  urged  Secretary  Welles  to  order  the  removal  of  the 
ship  and  finally,  on  the  11th  of  April,  orders  were  issued  looking 
towards  removing  the  Merrvmac  to  Philadelphia,  but  about  this 
time  discouraging  news  came  from  Norfolk  in  the  form  of  an 
official  report  saying  that  it  would  take  a  month  to  get  her  machin- 
ery in  condition  to  move.  This  estimate  of  time  was  so  different 
from  the  private  information  received  from  the  chief  of  the  yard 
that  misrepresentation  was  evident  and  Mr.  Isherwood  at  his  own 
urgent  request  was  ordered  to  go  to  Norfolk  in  person,  take  full 
charge  of  the  Merrimac,  and  get  her  ready  as  soon  as  possible.  He 
carried  a  peremptory  order  to  Commodore  McCauley  to  place  the 
ship  entirely  in  his  hands,  which  order  contained  among  other 
directions  these  words: 

' '  The  Department  desires  to  have  the  Merrimac  removed  from 
the  Norfolk  to  the  Philadelphia  Navy  Yard  with  the  utmost  des- 
patch. The  Engineer-in-Chief,  Mr.  B.  F.  Isherwood,  has  been 
ordered  to  report  to  you  for  the  purpose   of  expediting  the  duty, 



and  yon  will  have  his  suggestions  for  that  end  promptly  carried 
into  effect. ' ' 

Mr.  Isherwood  arrived  at  the  yard  on  Sunday  morning,  April 
14th,  and  immediately,  in  company  with  Mr.  Danby,  made  a  most 
thorough  examination  of  the  Merimac's  condition;  the  machinery 
was  completely  dismembered  and  many  parts  of  it  scattered  about 
the  shops,  but  nothing  of  importance  was  in  such  bad  condition  as 
to  forbid  its  temporary  use.  The  Navy  yard  employes  had  prev- 
iously abandoned  their  places,  but  as  many  of  the  machinists  and  other 
mechanics  were  known  to  Mr.  Isherwood  and  as  Mr.  Danby  had  been 
popular  with  them,  those  two  officers  succeeded  that  Sunday  afternoon 
and  evening  in  inducing  a  considerable  number  of  them  to  resume 
work  for  a  time.  The  force  thus  obtained  began  work  Monday 
morning  and  worked  night  and  day,  being  divided  into  three  eight- 
hour  gangs.  Messrs.  Isherwood  and  Danby  relieving  each  other 
every  twelve  hours  and  exercising  the  most  minute  supervision  over 
every  detail,  for  they  did  not  wish  any  mistakes  to  be  made.  On 
Wednesday  afternoon  Mr.  Isherwood  had  the  satisfaction  of  report- 
ing to  the  Commandant  that  he  was  ready  to  get  up  steam.  Com- 
modore McCauley  was  seemingly  startled  by  the  suddenness  of  the 
preparation,  after  he  had  reported  that  a  month's  time  would  be 
necessary  for  the  work  that  now  appeared  to  have  been  done  in 
three  days,  and  when  asked  for  authority  to  start  fires  hesitated  and 
finally  said,  that  the  next  morning  would  be  soon  enough,  which 
order  the  engineers  took  the  utmost  advantage  of  by  lighting  the 
fires  the  very  moment  that  midnight  had  passed.  The  follow- 
ing, from  Boynton's  history  of  the  navy,  gives  an  account  of 
what  followed  with  as  much  detail  as  is  presented  in  any  of  the 
various  historical  accounts  of  this  affair: 

"About  9  o'clock  on  Thursday  morning  the  report  was  made 
to  Commodore  McCauley  that  the  vessel  was  ready  to  proceed, 
when  he  replied  that  he  had  not  yet  decided  to  send  the  steamer 
out.  It  was  in  vain  that  he  was  reminded  of  the  peremptory  nature 
of  the  order  which  Mr.  Isherwood  brought  from  the  Secretary  of 
the  Navy, -to  get  the  Frigate  out  at  the  earliest  possible  moment  and 
send  her  to  Philadelphia;  he  only  replied  that  in  the  course  of  the 
day  he  would  let  his  decision  be  known.     He   seemed  to  fear  that 


obstructions  had  been  placed  in  the  channel.  He  was  told  by  those 
who  were  well  informed  thatlhe  obstructions  already  there  would 
be  easily  passed  by  the  Merrimao,  but  that  every  night's  delay 
would  increase  the  danger.  All  this  produced  no  effect.  Early  in 
the  afternoon  Mr.  Isherwood  again  called  upon  Commodore  Mc- 
Cauley,  who  then  said  that  he  had  decided  to  retain  the  frigate,  and 
ordered  the  fires  to  be  drawn.  He  was  again  reminded  of  the  per- 
emptory nature  of  the  orders  from  the  Navy  Department,  but  it 
seemed  to  produce  no  impression;  he  had  determined  to  retain  her, 
and  thus  the  noble  frigate  was  lost." 

The  writer  has  been  at  great  pains  to  get  at  the  real  truth  of 
this  event  and  with  that  object  in  view  has  made  a  careful  study  of 
the  various  official  reports  and  documents  relating  to  the  case,  as 
well  as  making  use  of  numerous  histories  which  treat  of  naval 
operations  during  the  Civil  War.  More  recently  he  has  been 
favored  with  a  thorough  and  most  carefully  written  account  of  the 
affair  from  the  pen  of  the  chief  actor — Chief  Engineer  Isherwood — 
which  throws  light  upon  some  of  the  dark  places  found  in  the  usual 
accounts,  and  which  will  be  made  use  of  as  this  narrative  progresses. 
The  principal  officers  concerned  in  the  event  were  called  upon  to 
testify  before  the  Senate  Committee  which  investigated  the  Conduct 
of  the  War,  and,  while  they  told  the  truth  so  far  as  they  went,  they 
told  no  more  than  was  necessary,  for  at  that  time  it  would  not  have 
been  either  patriotic  or  politic,  to  have  made  some  of  the  details 
public;  and  this  restriction  applies  to  a  considerable  extent  even 

Commodore  McCauley's  conduct  appears  highly  inconsistent 
with  the  theory  that  he  was  loyal  to  the  Government  and  anxious  to 
defend  his  country's  honor,  notwithstanding  which  all  the  evidence 
shows  that  he  was  both  loyal  and  patriotic.  At  the  time  of  this 
trouble  he  had  been  fifty-two  years  in  the  Navy,  having  lived  all 
through  that  long  and  uneventful  period  following  the  war  of  1812, 
which  may  well  be  called  the  Dark  Age  of  our  naval  history,  during 
which  midshipmen  grew  to  middle  age  before  becoming  lieutenants, 
and  then  remained  in  that  grade  until  old  age  was  actually  upon 
them,  before  they  rose  to  a  position  of  individual  responsibility. 
He  was  surrounded  by  younger  officers  who,  as  we  have  already 


Been,  were  southerners  and  who  systematically  deceived  him  by 
false  rumors  and  imaginary  difficulties,  but,  upon  whom  the 
Commodore  depended  entirely,  never  doubting  their  loyalty  to  him, 
until  they  actually  deserted  their  posts  of  duty. 

In  addition  to  the  perplexities  of  the  actual  situation  at  the 
navy  yard,  the  Commodore  was  hampered  with  political  instructions 
from  Washington  which  simply  added  to  his  bewilderment.  There 
was  a  false  hope  that  Virginia  would  not  secede,  and  President  Lin- 
coln was  led  to  believe  by  arguments  and  influences  that  probably 
no  one  but  himself  ever  knew,  that  an  attitude  of  confidence  and 
trust  towards  Virginia,  on  the  part  of  the  Federal  Government  would 
so  concilitate  the  people  that  they  would  remain  true  to  the  Union. 
This  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  Norfolk  was  full  of  armed  men  openly 
avowing  their  intention  to  seize  upon  the  Navy  yard,  and  that  the 
Virginia  authorities  had  begun  obstructing  the  channels  and  placing 
guns  to  oppose  the  egress  of  any  of  the  national  vessels.  So  com- 
modore McCauley  was  repeatedly  cautioned  not  to  do  anything  that 
might  appear  hostile,  or  provoking  to  the  Virginians,  and  at  the 
same  time  he  was  ordered  to  save  the  public  property  under  his  com- 
mand by  any  means  in  his  power. 

All  these  contradictions  and  perplexities  were  too  much  for  the 
Commodore  to  unravel,  having  spent  the  greater  part  of  his  life  in  a 
sphere  where  he  only  did  what  some  one  else  told  him  to  do,  it  is  no 
wonder  therefore,  that  the  poor  old  man  was  unable  to  rise  to  the  oc- 
casion. To  his  mind,  long  before  narrowed  to  follow  the  one  straight 
line  of  naval  customs  and  precedents,  ithe  situation  was  most  irregu- 
lar and  wholly  inexplicable.  His  common  sense  told  him  that  the 
information  that  his  subordinates  gave  him  could  not  be  true,  and 
yet  he  accepted  it  as  truth  because  he  himself  had  always  been  true 
to  his  superiors,  and  naval  laws  explicitly  required  such  loyalty. 
Never  before  had  he  heard  people  talk  of  taking  posession  of  a  navy 
yard,  a  place  sacred  by  every  tradition  of  the  service  to  the  imperi- 
al sway  of  the  commandant;  never  before  had  navy  yard  workmen 
been  known  to  leave  their  employment  and  refuse  to  return  except 
as  hostiles;  never  before  had  the  majesty  of  a  navy  yard  been 
outraged  by  officers  walking  out  of  the  gates  without  leave,  and  with- 
out written  orders  properly  endorsed  by  the  commandant  as  re- 
quired by  regulation.     And  then,  as  if  to   prove    that    all    signs 


id,  the  infallible  regulations  themselves  contained  not  a 
instruction  as  to  what  to  do  in  case  of  insurrection  and 

3d  seizure  of  a  navy  yard.     The  fault  was  not  with  Com- 

McCauley,  but  with  the  system  that  had  trained  him. 
Isherwood  thus  graphically  describes  the  pitiful  situation 

iommodore  at  this  trying  time: 

tie  Commodore  was  in  a  state  of  complete  prostration.  He 
i  office  immovable,  not  knowing  what  to  do.  He  was  weak, 
g,  hesitating,  and  overwhelmed  by  the  responsibilities  of 
on.  He  listened  blandly,  or  seemed  to  listen,  to  what  was 
im,  but  could  not  be  made  to  give  any  order  or  take  any 
I  kept  reporting  to  him  what  I  was  doing  and  what  I  in- 
>  do.     He  looked  vaguely  at  me,  nodded  his  head,  but  said 

He  behaved  as  though  he  were  stupefied.  He  was  a 
i  man,  personally  brave  and  loyal,  perplexed  in  the  ex- 
jserted  by  his  officers,  and  utterly  unequal  to  the  occasion, 
ordinate  he  would  have  done  well;  as  a  principal  he  was  a 

failure.  I  endeavored  to  advise  him,  to  explain  the 
the  Department,  and  to  make  him  understand  the  necess- 
itting  the  Merrimac  out  at  once,  and  I  told  him  we  could 
t  the  same  time  several  other  vessels.  I  knew  the  Navy 
ild  be  in  our  possession  but  a  few  days  longer,  and  wanted 
ill  the  public  property  I  could,  as  well  as  to  diminish  the 
the  enemy  by  preventing  it  from  falling  into  their  hands, 
in  vain.  I  could  not  get  him  to  do  anything.  He  never 
r  the  vessel." 

r  getting  np  steam  Thursday  morning  Mr.  Isherwood  kept 
es  running  at  the  dock  all  day  as  a  visible  sign  that  the 
?as  ready  to  go;  he  had  got  enough  coal  and  stores  on 

his  own  exertions  (for  no  official  of  the  Yard  except  Mr. 
ded  him  by  word  or  deed  during  all  this  time)  to  take  the 
Ear  as  Newport  News  where  she  would  be  safe.  Knowing 
mander  Alden,  who  had  been  ordered  to  take  command  of 

after  her  machinery  had  been  put  in  working  order,  was 
jrith  every  obstacle  that  red-tapeism  could  suggest  to  pre- 
getting  men,  Mr.  Isherwood  had  inquired  among  his 
i  and  found  some  who  had  been  to  sea,  and  these  he  de- 


tailed  as  wheelmen  to  steer  the  vessel.  By  lavish  promises  of  pay 
he  secured  a  sufficient  number  of  the  others  to  act  as  firemen, 
oilers,  etc.  and  these  men  faithfully  agreed  to  work  the  ship  as  far 
as  Newport  News,  which  promise  they  undoubtedly  would  have 
kept,  as  they  needed  the  large  sums  offered  them,  and  they  were 
under  many  obligations  to  Chief  Engineer  Danby  for  liberal  treat- 
ment when  employed  under  him  in  the  yard.  Mr.  Isherwood  also 
on  his  own  authority  had  the  chain  cables  that  secured  the  ship  to 
the  dock  removed  and  replaced  with  rope  hawsers  and  he  had  provided 
axes  and  stationed  men  with  them  to  cut  the  hawsers  when  the 
word  to  go  was  given.  Many  other  details  of  preparation  were 
attended  to  by  him  and  throughout  the  day  the  vessel  was  entirely 
ready  to  go  out,  which  she  could  easily  have  done  without  a  pilot 
as  she  was  so  light  without  coal,  guns,  or  stores  that  she  would 
easily  have  passed  over  the  obstructions  already  in  the  channel. 
But  the  commandant  would  not  say  the  word  which  would  have 
authorized  them  to  start. 

It  is  pertinent  to  say  just  here, that  the  orders  to  Mr.  Isherwood 
gave  him  full  and  absolute  authority  over  the  ship  until  the  engines 
were  in  condition  to  drive  her;  then  Commander  Alden  was  by  his 
orders  to  assume  command  and  take  the  ship  to  sea.  Had  this  au- 
thority been  vested  in  Mr.  Isherwood  the  Merrimac  would  have 
been  saved  and  the  carnage  that  Hampton  Boads  saw  the  following 
March  would  never  have  been  heard  of.  As  it  was,  Mr.  Isherwood 
had  to  resist  a  very  strong  temptation  to  take  charge  of  tbe  ship  him- 
self, but  he  had  been  in  the  service  too  many  years  not  to  understand 
the  full  significance  of  the  laws  and  regulations  that  declared  staff 
officers  not  eligible  to  exercise  command,  and  he  felt  that  no  meritor- 
ious result  of  such  an  assumption  on  his  part,  even  if  it  were  the 
saving  of  one  of  the  finest  ships  in  the  Navy,  would  serve  to  excu- 
se his  encroachment  upon  the  prerogatives  held  as  beloDging  only 
to  another  class  of  officers.  Mr.  Isherwood  himself  writes  as  fol- 
lows relative  to  this  perplexing  crisis: 

"  As  I  witnessed  the  gradual  dying  out  of  the  revolutions  of 
the  Merrimac's  engines  at  the  dock  I  was  greatly  tempted  to  cut  the 
ropes  that  held  her,  and  to  bring  her  out  on  my  own  responsibility. 
This  would  have  been  my  destruction,  for  then,  the  disasters  which 


followed  her  detention,  and  which  are  my  justification  for 
to  take  the  matter  into  my  own  hands,  would  not  have  h; 

The  last  act  in  this  miserable  affair,  when  the  co 
finally  refused  to  allow  the  ship  to  leave  and  directed  her 
hauled,  is  told  by  Chief  Engineer  Isherwood  in  a  let 
writer,  as  follows: 

"Although  I  could  not  get  the  Commodore  to  tal 
cisive  action  I  kept  the  engines  working  at  the  dock  all  da 
that  he  might  be  persuaded  to  carry  out  the  plain  intenti 
Department.  Late  in  the  afternoon,  at  our  last  intervie 
me  to  draw  the  fires  and  stop  the  engines  as  he  had  deci 
tain  the  vessel  and  meant  to  defend  the  yard.  I  looked  ai 
amazement,  went  over  the  case  again,  urged  the  order 
desire  of  the  Department,  told  him  the  inevitable  conse< 
his  decision,  tried  to  show  him  the  utter  absurdity  of  atte 
defend  an  unfortified  navy  yard  without  men  or  any  milit 
at  command,  for  by  this  time  he  was  absolutely  alone.  I 
brave,  had  a  high  sense  of  honor  and  duty  and  consic 
self  bound  to  struggle  to  the  last.  If  he  had  had  the  sma 
on  which  he  could  have  depended  he  would  have  died  gall 
I  believe  gladly,  at  its  head,  sword  in  hand  against  any  o 
' '  Finding  that  I  could  not  move  him  and  that  he  wa 
impatient  at  my  reiterated  appeals  I  drew  from  my  p 
order  of  the  Department  to  me,  wrote  upon  it  the  usua 
ment  that  having  completed  the  duty  assigned  me  to 
Washington,  and  laid  it  before  him.  He  understood  tl 
cance  of  the  act,  but  signed  the  indorsement  without  a  wo 
•  great  sorrow  and  chagrin  I  dismissed  my  men,  waited  un 
gines  made  their  last  revolution,  when  I  left  the  navy 
have  never  seen  it  since." 

On  Wednesday,  the  17th  of  April,  the  State  Con- 
Virginia  had  passed  the  Ordinance  of  Secession,  so  the 
excuse  whatever  on  Thursday,  for  maintaining  a  pacific  i 
the  yard  for  fear  of  provoking  the  disloyal  sentiment  a 
inhabitants  into  open  rebellion;  the  rebellion  was  already 


and  the  time  for  temporizing  had  passed.  Why  the  Merrimac,  with 
her  engines  working  and  a  sufficient  number  of  men  on  board  to 
handle  her,  did  not  that  day  tow  out  to  safety  the  other  vessels  is 
one  of  those  speculative  questions  that  cannot  be  satisfactorily 
answered.  Like  many  other  controversies  over  sins  of  omission  in 
the  past,  this  question  is  important  chiefly  on  account  of  the  disas- 
ters that  followed  in  the  footsteps  of  the  first  error,  the  knowledge 
of  which  was  of  course  hidden  at  the  time  that  its  possession  would 
haye  incited  action  on  the  part  of  those  whose  failure  it  is  now  easy 
to  criticise. 

Mr.  Isherwood's  work  on  the  Merrimac  was  known  to  all  in 
Norfolk,  and  naturally,  was  greatly  resented  by  the  populace,  as  it 
was  a  menace  to  the  prospects  of  possessing  the  ship.  In  fact,  only 
a  week  before,  the  Merrimac  had  been  moved  under  the  shears  of 
the  ordnance  wharf  to  have  her  guns  placed  on  board,  and  this  act  had 
raised  such  a  howl  of  protest  that  the  commandant  had  stopped  the 
work  and  moved  her  back,  so  we  can  readily  understand  the  feeling 
when  it  was  known  that  her  machinery  was  being  fitted  for  use.  A 
plot  to  capture  Mr.  Isherwood  and  hold  him  as  a  prisoner  of  war 
was  hatched,  and  it  was  only  by  chance  that  he  escaped  falling  into 
the  hands  of  his  country's  enemies.  Fortunately  for  him,  a  civilian 
in  the  town,  who  knew  of  the  plot  was  his  warm  personal  friend 
and  this  gentleman  warned  him  of  his  danger.  The  friend  engaged 
a  room  on  the  Baltimore  steamer  in  the  morning,  in  his  own  name, 
and  took  possession  of  it  with  Mr.  Isherwood's  trunk,  going  later  with 
a  closed  carriage  to  the  hotel  and  conveying  the  unwelcome  guest  to 
the  steamer,  where  he  remained  locked  in  the  room  until  the  boat 
was  well  out  in  Chesapeake  Bay.  A  party  of  Confederates  waited 
for  hours  on  the  wharf  for  him  to  arrive,  and  only  knew  by  going 
to  the  hotel  after  the  steamer  had  left,  that  tneir  enemy  had  out- 
witted them  and  escaped.  After  his  return  to  the  Department  Mr. 
Isherwood  made  a  short  written  report  of  his  connection  with  the 
Merrimac,  and  the  Secretary  and  himself  never  exchanged  a  word 
about  it.  It  was  tacitly  understood  that  the  subject  was  to  be 
ignored,  as  one  not  politic  for  the  public  to  know  in  the  existing 
•  state  of  high  feeling  and  excitement,  and  it  was  ignored. 

Following  closely  upon  the  events  before  narrated,  came  the 
order  to  abandon  the  navy  yard.     Captain  Hiram  Paulding,  in  the 


steam  sloop-of-war,  Pawnee  with  one  hundred  marines  i 
regiment  of  Massachusetts  volunteers  went  up  to  the  yard 
20  and  found  the  Germantown,  Plymouth,  and  Dolphw 
and  rapidly  sinking,  which  prevented  him  from  carrying 
tention  to  use  those  vessels  to  defend  the  channel.  Feelii 
yard  was  hopelessly  lost,  and  not  wishing  to  let  anything 
fall  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy,  he  ordered  the  destructi 
of  everything  inflammable,  and  the  work-shops,  ship-hou 
of  the  ships,  and  numerous  other  buildings  went  up  in  s 
night.  The  guns  were  spiked  and  many  of  them  pe 
ruined  by  knocking  off  the  trunnions,  but  all  efforts  in  thif 
failed  with  the  Dahlgren  guns  and  they  afterward  became 
weapons  in  the  hands  of  the  enemy.  The  wild  scene  of  d 
was  of  unearthly  awfulness  and  sublimity  utterly  ind€ 
The  upper  works  of  the  Merrimac  were  burned  away,  bui 
merged  portion  of  the  hull  remained  intact  and  was  sul 
used  with  terrible  effect. 

As  the  morning  of  Sunday,  the  21st,  approached,  tb 
took  the  Cumberland  in  tow  and  departed,  leaving  behin< 
tage  of  the  soverignty  of  the  United  States.  The  Coi 
rushed  in  as  the  Union  forces  left,  extinguished  the  train 
to  blow  up  the  granite  dry  dock,  saved  the  officers'  hi 
some  other  buildings,  and  thus  provided  themselves  with  tl 
for  a  great  naval  station.  Thus  was  public  property  to  th 
ten  millions  of  dollars  destroyed  or  lost  to  the  Governmt 
of  the  vessels  which  escaped  destruction  that  dreadful  nig] 
historical  old  frigate  United  States,  but  her  respite  was  1 
in  May  of  the  following  year,  when  the  Confederates  in  tu 
abandon  Norfolk,  she,  too,  notwithstanding  the  glorious 
that  clustered  about  her,  was  burned  to  ashes. 

In  the  latter  part  of  August,  1861,  an  expedition  pi 
the  Navy  Department,  and  commanded  by  Flag  Officer  S 
proceeded  from  Hampton  Roads  to  attack  Hatteras  In! 
place  had  been  fortified  and  armed  with  guns  taken  from 
folk  navy  yard.  Two  transport  steamers,  carrying  about 
dred  troops  under  the  command  of  Major  General  Bei 
Butler,  accompanied  this  expedition  as  a  part  of  the  con 
tacking  force.     The  naval  vessels  composing  the  squadror 


steamers  Minnesota,  Wabash,  Susquehanna,  Monticello,  Pawnee, 
and  Harriet  Lane,  and  the  sailing  frigate  Cumberland.  About 
thirty  engineers  of  the  navy  were  attached  to  these  vessels  and  in 
their  appointed  stations  performed  their  duties  thoroughly  and  -well, 
keeping  the  motive  power  of  their  vessels  in  a  constant  condition 
of  readiness  and  efficiency  to  meet  any  demand  that  the  exigencies 
of  the  expedition  might  require. 

The  squadron  arrived  off  Hatteras  on  August  28,  and  imme- 
diately landed  the  soldiers  and  marines  to  attack  the  fortifications 
from  the  land,  in  conjunction  with  the  bombardment  from  the  ships 
which  was  maintained  all  the  afternoon  and  resumed  the  morning  of 
the  29th,  ceasing  only  with  the  surrender  of  the  enemy  about  11 
a.  m.  that  day.  The  most  exciting  event  connected  with  this  affair 
was  a  bad  quarter  of  an  hour  experienced  by  the  Monticello,  during 
which  she  narrowly  escaped  destruction.  This  small  steamer,  after 
assisting  in  landing  the  marines  and  soldiers,  was  supplied  with  a 
local  coast  pilot  by  the  flag-ship  and  ordered  to  go  in  through  the 
inlet  to  see  what  was  going  on  inside.  The  pilot,  either  by  design 
or  through  ignorance,  took  her  into  the  wrong  channel  and  she 
began  to  strike  bottom  when  in  dangerous  proximity  to  the  forts, 
the  shoalness  of  the  water  finally  obliging  her  to  abandon  her  under- 
taking and  to  try  to  work  out  to  sea  again.  Seeing  the  Monticello. 
in  this  distress  the  large  fort  of  fifteen  guns,  which  had  not 
molested  her  up  to  that  time,  opened  on  her  with  a  furious  cannon- 
ade, which  was  returned  with  the  fire  of  such  guns  as  could  be 
brought  to  bear.  By  working  the  engines  rapidly  back  and  forth, 
to  take  advantage  of  the  swell  and  eddying  currents,  the  ship  was 
finally  turned  around  and  worked  out  of  her  dangerous  predicament, 
not,  however,  until  she  had  suffered  seriously  from  the  merciless 
storm  of  shot  and  shell  poured  upon  her.  Her  escape  from  destruc- 
tion was  due  in  large  measure  to  the  skill  and  ability  of  the  engineers 
under  whose  alert  charge  the  machinery  responded  instantly  to  every 
movement  required.  Commander  John  P.  Gillis,  who  commanded 
the  Monticello  at  the  time,  in  reporting  this  experience  expressed 
his  indebtedness  to  the  acting  chief  engineer  of  the  ship — Mr. 
George  M.  Waite — "for  his  care  and  promptness  in  the  manage- 
ment of  the  engine."  The  assistant  engineers  of  the  Monticello  at 
this  time  were  Messrs.   Jonathan  Thomas  and  Columbus  L.  Griffin. 


On  the  night  of  September  13,  the  U.  S.  S.  Color* 
off  Fort  Pickens,  Florida,  sent  out  an  expedition  in  f 
against  the  navy  yard  at  Pensacola  then  in  possession  of 
federates,  the  objects  of  the  expedition  being  the  destruct 
schooner  Judah  fitting  out  at  one  of  the  docks  for  a  priv 
the  spiking  of  a  gun  in  battery  at  the  southeast  end  of 
The  party  consisted  of  exactly  one  hundred  officers,  s« 
marines, the  officers  being  Lieutenants  Russell,  Sproston,  i 
Captain  Reynolds  of  the  marine  corps;  Assistant  Surgeon 
Assistant  Engineer  George  H.  White,  Gunner  Boreton 
shipmen  Steece,  Forrest  and  Rigginson. 

The  attack  was  made  on  the  morning  of  the  14th  at 
three  o'clock.  Instead  of  surprising  the  enemy,  the  cr 
Judah  was  found  awake  and  ready  to  receive  the  expedit 
great  damage  with  musketry  fire  as  the  boats  approachec 
giving  up  their  vessel  until  after  a  most  desperate  hai 
combat  on  the  deck.  The  schooner  being  captured  and  e 
and  the  gun  spiked,  the  naval  expedition  withdrew,  f< 
time  the  yard  was  as  busy  as  a  hornet's  nest  and  fully  one 
Confederates  were  swarming  for  an  attack.  The  Union 
three  men  killed  and  twelve  wounded,  among  the  latter  t 
tain  Reynolds  of  the  marines  and  Midshipman  F.  J.  JE 
who  had  the  end  of  his  thumb  shot  off. 

Assistant  Engineer  White's  part  in  the  exploits  of 
is  indicated  by  the  following  extracts  from  the  official  rep 

"In  the  meantime  the  vessel  was  set  on  fire  in  sevei 
That  which  finally  consumed  her  was  lighted  in  the  cabin 
ant  Engineer  White  and  a  coal-heaver   Patrick  Driscoll 
as  a  volunteer." 

"Assistant  Engineer  White  brought  down  from  the  c 
of  the  schooner  a  man  who  had  been  seen  to  fire  upon 
killing  him  instantly." 


"I  have  read  a  fiery  gospel  writ  in  burnished  rows  of  steel ; 
'As  ye  deal  with  my  contemners  so  with  you  my  grace  shall  deal'; 
Let  the  Hero,  born  of  woman ,  crush  the  serpent  with  his  heel ; 
Since  God  is  marching  on." 
Julia  Ward  Howe — Battle  Hymn  of  the  Republic- 

1861.  The  Civil  War,  Continued. — Expedition  of  Flag  Officer  Du  Pont  to  Port  Royal. 
— Loss  of  the  Governor. — Naval  Battle  at  Port  Royal. — Killing  of  Assistant 
Engineer  Whittemore  on  the  Mohican. — The  Affair  of  the  Trent. 

IN  dividing  the  coast  for  convenience  in  maintaining  the  blockade 
proclaimed  along  the  entire  sea  line  of  the  insurgent  states  the 
limits  of  the  South  Atlantic  blockading  squadron  were  fixed  at  the 
boundary  line  between  the  Carolinas  on  the  north  and  Cape  Florida 
on  the  south.  This  region  being  far  from  aDy  of  the  Union  ports  it 
became  necessary  to  establish  somewhere  within  its  limits  a  harbor 
of  refuge  in  heavy  weather  where  a  repair  station  and  depot  could 
be  maintained.  In  order  to  seize  such  a  place  and  hold  it  with  a 
strong  garrison  a  large  combined  army  and  naval  expedition,  com- 
manded by  Flag  Officer  Samuel  F.  DuPont  and  Brigadier  General 
T.  W.  Sherman  (not  Wm.  T.  Sherman),  was  fitted  out  and  sailed 
from  Hampton  Roads  on  the  29th  of  October.  The  frigate  Wabash, 
Commander  C.  R.  P.  Rodgers,  was  the  flagship,  and  the  fleet, 
numbering  forty-eight  vessels  including  the  troop  ships,  was  the 
largest  ever  before  assembled  under  our  flag.  A  fleet  of  twenty- 
five  schooners  laden  with  coal  was  despatched  the  previous  day 
under  convoy  of  the  sailing  sloop  of  war  Vandalia  with  orders  to 
rendezvous  at  sea  off  Savannah. 

On  November  1st  the  fleet  was  scattered  by  a  furious  gale  from 
the  southeast,  approaching  a  hurricane  in  violence,  and  some  of  the 
vessels  fared  very  badly,  especially  the  transports  which  had  been 
hurriedly  purchased  or  chartered  and  in  some  cases  were  actually 
unseaworthy.  The  steamer  Governor,  in  which  was  embarked  the 
fine  battalion  of  marines,  foundered,  and  the  marines  with  seven 
exceptions   were  rescued  by  the  frigate   Sabme  and  the  steamer 


Isaac  Smith,  the  latter  vessel  having  been  obliged  to  thi 
board  her  battery  to  save  herself.     The  transport  Peerless 
down  and  her  people  were  taken  off  in  boats  under  the  na 
oris  circumstances  by  the  crew  of  the  Mohican. 

The  selection  of  the  point  to  be  captured  was  left  ei 
the  judgment  of  Flag  Officer  DuFont,  who  decided  that  Po 
South  Carolina,  was  the  best  located  and  most  suitable  for 
for  the  blockading  squadron.  Accordingly  as  the  vessels 
reassemble  after  the  gale,  the  Wabash  led  them  to  the  v 
that  place  and  anchored  off  the  bar  during  the  day  of  Novi 
All  buoys  and  other  aids  to  navigation  had  been  remov< 
enemy,  which  made  it  necessary  to  find,  sound,  and  1 
channel  before  any  of  the  vessels  could  venture  further, 
being  several  miles  off  shore.  This  work  was  done  u 
direction  of  Mr.  Boutelle  the  Assistant  Chief  of  the  Coast  Sui 
was  very  familiar  with  the  coast  in  this  region  and  who  was  f o 
with  the  expedition  in  charge  of  a  small  steamer  named  th 
Late  in  the  afternoon  the  transports  drawing  less  than  eigh 
of  water  and  all  the  gun-vessels  were  sent  to  the  anchorage 
Royal  roadstead,  the  gunboats  having  a  brush  with  two 
Confederate  steamers  under  command  of  Commodore  Ta 
"blood  is  thicker  than  water"  fame,  and  drove  them  u 
shelter  of  the  batteries  on  Bay  Foint  and  Hilton  Hea 
Beauregard  and  Walker). 

The  next  morning,  November  5,  the  grave  responsi 
hazarding  the  noble  frigate  Wabash  in  crossing  the  bar  was 
by  DuPont  and  that  vessel,  thanks  to  the  careful  wort 
Boutelle,  was  safely  taken  inside,  followed  by  the  side-wl 
ate  /Stisquehanna  and  the  deep-draught  transports.  Ir 
preparation  for  action  was  made  but  various  delays,  ami 
the  grounding  of  the  Wabash  after  getting  into  the  roads 
curred  and  night  came  on  before  the  fleet  was  ready,  while 
westerly  gale  the  following  day  again  postponed  the  assaul 

On  the  morning  of  November  7  the  fleet  got  under 
attack  the  forts,  the  order  of  battle  comprising  a  main 
ranged  in  line  ahead,  and  a  flanking  squadron  to  engage  the 
vessels  and  prevent  them  from  cutting  off  any  of  the  vei 
might  be  disabled  and  fall  out  of  action.     The  main  squa 


made  up  of  the  Wabash,  Susquehanna,  Mohican,  Seminole,  Pawnee, 
Unadilla,  Ottawa,  Pembina,  and  the  sailing-sloop  Yandalia  towed 
by  the  Isaac  Smith;  the  flanking  squadron  was  composed  of  the 
Bienville,  Seneca,  (Jurlew,  Penguin,  and  Augusta.  The  battle  was 
opened  by  a  gun  from  Fort  Walker  at  9:26  a.  m.  and  ended  about 
2  p.  m.  ;  the  enemy  abandoning  his  works  with  great  zeal  and  pre- 
cipitation. Commander  0.  R.  P.  Rodgers  with  a  force  of  marines 
and  blue  jackets  went  ashore  from  the  Wabash  and  took  possession 
of  Fort  Walker  and  by  nightfall  a  brigade  of  troops  was  landed 
and  in  possession.  At  sunrise  the  next  morning  Lieutenant  com- 
manding Daniel  Ammen  of  the  Seneca  landed  and  hoisted  the 
American  flag  on  Fort  Beauregard.  The  forts  were  badly  damaged 
by  the  furious  cannonading  to  which  they  had  been  subjected,  the 
terrific  nature  of  which  can  be  understood  from  the  fact  that  the 
Wabash  alone  fired  nearly  nine  hundred  shells,  besides  grape  and 

The  foregoing  briefly  outlines  the  circumstances  attending  the 
taking  possession  of  the  forts  by  the  Union  forces,  and  is  given  in 
the  usual  form  in  which  the  event  is  recorded  in  history.  The 
following  extracts  from  Flag  Officer  DuPont's  detailed  report  of 
the  engagement  furnish  the  foundation  for  the  bestowal  upon  the 
distinguished  Kodgers  brothers  of  the  honor  of  landing  first  and 
personally  taking  possession  of  Fort  Walker: 

' '  I  sent  Commander  John  Rodgers  on  shore  with  a  flag  of 
truce.  The  hasty  flight  of  the .  enemy  was  visible,  and  was  re- 
ported from  the  tops.  At  twenty  minutes  after  two  Captain  Rod- 
gers hoisted  the  flag  of  the  Union  over  the  deserted  post.  At 
forty-five  minutes  after  two  I  anchored  and  sent  Commander  C.  R. 
P.  Rodgers  on  shore  with  the  marines  and  a  party  of  seamen  to 
take  possession,  and  prevent,  if  necessary,  the  destruction  of  public 
property. ' ' 

"  Commander  John  Rodgers,  a  passenger  in  this  ship,  going 
to  take  command  of  the  steamer  Hag,  volunteered  to  act  upon  my 
staff.  It  would  be  difficult  for  me  to  enumerate  the  duties  he  per- 
formed, they  were  so  numerous  and  various,  and  he  brought  to 
them  all  an  invincible  energy  and  the  highest  order  of  professional 
knowledge  and  merit.     I  was  glad  to  show  my  appreciation  of  hi« 


great  services  by  allowing  him  the  honor  to.  hoist  the  first  A 
flag  on  the  rebellious  soil  of  South  Carolina." 

In  large  operations  of  this  nature  it  is  customary,  and 
proper,  to  give  credit  for  worthy  deeds  to  the  officer  who  coi 
the  acts  of  his  subordinates  being  assumed  to  be  his  owr 
actual  details  attending  the  landing  at  Fort  Walker  differ  s< 
from  the  usual  historical  accounts,  and  have  been  learned 
author  from  some  documents  loaned  him  by  Mr.  Hillary  M 
Superintendent  of  Motive  Power  of  the  Calumet  and  Heels 
Company,  one  of  the  most  important  papers  being  a  letter 
in  1883  by  Eear  Admiral  C.  E.  P.  Rodgers,  then  on  the  reti 

It  appears  from  these  records  that  Third  Assistant  I 
Hillary  Messimer  of  the  Wabash,  hereafter  referred  to  as 
excited  the  admiration  of  his  superior  officers  by  his  cooh 
attention  to  duty  during  the  action  while  stationed  at  the 
room  signal  on  the  bridge,  was  selected  by  Flag  Officer 
to  take  charge  of  an  armed  party  of  marines  to  land  and  sf 
guns  in  the  fort  should  the  enemy  show  any  signs  of  rei 
Mr.  Messimer' s  party  took,  besides  the  necessary  tools,  an  A 
flag  with  which  he  landed  and  was  inside  the  works  wi 
stationed  at  the  guns  ready  to  spike  them  before  Command 
Rodgers  set  his  foot  on  the  shore.  The  latter  officer  sho 
from  the  Wabash  when  Messimer's  boat  was  almost  on  sk 
his  men  about  to  jump  overboard  to  land,  in  doing  whid 
moments  later  Messimer  took  care  to  be  first,  although  i 
closely  by  his  men,  and  to  him  belongs  the  credit  of  being 
person  from  the  Union  force  to  land  in  this  stronghold  of  the 
With  his  own  hands,  assisted  by  a  marine  corporal,  Mr.  3/ 
hauled  down  the  Confederate  flags  from  the  general  and  rej 
headquarters,  after  which,  leaving  a  sergeant  in  command 
spiking  party,  he  went  down  to  the  beach  to  meet  Comms 
R.  P.  Rodgers  then  landing  with  a  force  of  men  from  the 

After  receiving  and  approving  Messimer's  report  of 
had  done,  Commander  Rodgers  ordered  him  to  go  off  to 
ship  and  deliver  to  Flag  Officer  DuPont  the  captured  flags 
Confederate  prisoners  whom  he  had  taken,  and  then  to  i 
the  fort  with  the  chaplain  of  the  ship  to  bury  the  dead ;  a 


■was  done.  A  sword  carried  on  board  the  Wabash  wish  the  Confed- 
erate flags  was  afterward  given  to  Mr.  Messimer  by  Flag  Officer  Du- 
Pont  with  the  complimentary  remark,  "  You  have  earned  it." 

This  engagement  furnishes  one  of  the  many  striking  instances 
illustrative  of  the  division  of  families  over  the  ssues  which  caused 
the  Civil  War.  The  Confederate  commander  of  the  works  at  Fort 
Royal  was  General  Drayton  brother  of  Commander  Percival  Dray- 
ton of  the  Federal  navy,  whose  vessel,  the  Pocahontas,  was  so  dis- 
abled in  the  gale  on  the  voyage  down  that  he  did  not  arrive  in  time 
to  be  assigned  a  position  in  the  order  of  battle,  but  he  succeeded  in 
reaching  the  scene  of  action  about  noon  and  rendered  gallant  serv- 
ice by  engaging  the  batteries  on  both  sides  in  succession,  and  aided 
materially  in  driving  his  brother  and  his  men  out  of  the  works. 

Several  of  the  vessels  engaged  were  badly  cut  up  by  the  fire 
from  the  forts  and  it  was  a  matter  of  surprise,  expressed  at  the 
time  in  the  official  reports,  that  the  casualties  under  the  circum- 
stances were  not  greater  than  they  were.  These  amounted  to  eight 
killed  and  twenty-three  wounded,  seven  of  the  latter  severely.  The 
only  officer  killed  was  Third  Assistant  Engineer  John  W.  Whitte- 
more,  of  the  Mohican,  who  was  stationed  on  deck  at  the  engine 
room  telegraph  where  he  was  instantly  killed  by  a  solid  shot  com- 
ing through  the  hammock  rail  and  driving  before  it  a  piece  of  an 
iron  bolt  or  screw  from  the  rigging  which  passed  through  bis  head. 
Mr.  Whittemore  was  the  son  of  a  celebrated  Universalist  minister 
of  Boston,  and  was  a  highly  cultured  and  accomplished  young  gen- 
tleman, whose  New  England  spirit  of  patriotism  had  impelled  him 
to  enter  the  naval  service  in  a  capacity  where  he  feit  he  could  serve 
his  country  most  usefully.  He  had  been  in  the  service  less  than 
three  months  at  the  time  of  his  death,  but  in  that  short  time  his 
many  admirable  qualities  had  greatly  endeared  him  to  all  who  were 
associated  with  him. 

On  the  same  vessel  another  assistant  engineer,  Mr.  Mayland 
Cuthbert,  narrowly  escaped  being  killed  while  at  his  post  of  duty  in 
the  starboard  gangway  in  charge  of  the  fire  division.  A  shot  struck 
the  main  yard  and  cut  the  jack  stay  into  pieces,  one  of  which  took 
an  oblique  direction  downward,  striking  Cuthbert  in  the  thigh  and 
inflicting  a  frightful  wound,  in  which  the  femoral  artery  was  laid 
bare,  but  fortunately  not  cut.     The  vacancy  on  the  Mohican  caused 


by  the  killing  of  Whittemore  was  filled  by  transferring 
Engineer  Absalom  Kirby  from  the  Pocahontas,  which  fa 
tioned  because,  by  a  curious  coincidence,  Mr.  Kirby  had 
escaped  being  killed  in  the  action  under  the  same  circ 
leading  to  the  death  of  Mr.  Whittemore.  He,  also,  was  st 
the  engine-room  bell,  which  on  the  Pocahontas  was  attacl 
main  mast,  and  while  standing  at  his  station  a  solid  sh 
through  the  mast  within  a  few  inches  of  his  head,  show< 
with  splinters  but  doing  him  no  serious  harm. 

Attached  to  the  various  steamers  of  the  assaulting  squa 
about  seventy-five  officers  of  the  Engineer  Corps,  regulars 
unteers,  all  of  whom  acquitted  themselves  with  great  cre( 
their  skilful  performance  of  duty,  contributed  very  materis 
success  of  the  undertaking.  The  chief  or  senior  engine 
different  vessels  engaged  were  the  following:  Wabash,  J. 
Susquehanna,  Geo.  Sewell;  Mohican,  E.  D.  Robie,  Semm 
Harris;  Pawnee,  W.  H.  Rutherford;  Unadilla,  Ed w.  Man 
tawa,  W.  W.  Dungan;  Pembina,  Jefferson  Young;  Isaac 
Tucker;  Bienville,  W.  H.  Wright;  Seneca,  J.  W.  de  Kraff 
George  R.  Emory ; Penguin,  M.  P.  Randall;  Augusta,  G 
Sloat.  Mr.  J.  M.  Hobby,  who  at  a  later  period  in  the  y 
ly  distinguished  himself  as  chief  engineer  of  the  Sassacu 
with  the  ram  Albemarle,  was,  on  this  occasion,  the  first  a 
the  Susquehanna. 

That  one  at  least  of  the  vessels  was  kept  in  action  by 
of  her  engineers  is  shown  by  the  following  extract  from  1 
of  the  commanding  officer  of  the  Curlew: 

"Messrs  Emory,  Swasey,  McConnell,  and  Loyds  en 
the  vessel,  with  great  difficulties  to  contend  against,  in  th 
unfitness  of  engine,  boilers  and  condensing  apparatus,  fort 
service,  managed  to  carry  us  through  the  action,  for  wh: 

Commander  C.  R.  1J.  Rodgers  of  the  flag  ship  repor 
lows  regarding  the  work  of  the  engineers  of  that  vessel. 

"The  engine  and  steam,  during  the  whole  action,  wen 
with  consummate  skill,  which  did  great  credit  to  Chief 
King  and  his  assistants.     Third  Assistant  Engineer    Mess 


etood  upon  the  bridge  by  my  side  during  the  action,  impressed  me 
very  favorably  by  his  cool  intelligence  and  promptness." 

Flag  officer  DuPont  also  mentioned  Mr.  Messimer's  excellence 
in  his  report  of  the  battle,  and  in  other  reports  of  commanding  offi- 
cers occur  references  from  which  one  concludes  that  the  engineers 
were  very  necessary  officials  and  a  part  of  the  combatant  element  of 
the  fleet. 

The  affair  of  the  Trent,  on  account  of  its  international  aspect, 
attracted  probably  more  attention  and  wide-spread  interest  than 
any  other  single  event  connected  with  the  operations  of  the  Navy 
during  the  Civil  War,  and,  as  two  officers  of  the  engineer  corps  were 
prominently  concerned,  it  is  proper  that  a  brief  account  be  given 
in  this  work.  The  U.  S.  Steamer,  San  Jacinto,  commanded  by 
Captain  Charles  Wilkes,  was  employed  the  latter  part  of  this  year 
in  cruising  about  the  West  Indies  seeking  for  the  Confederate  pri- 
vateer Sumter,  which  had  committed  numerous  depredations  in  those 
waters;  the  last  day  of  October  the  San  Jacinto  went  into  the  port 
of  Havana,  where  Wilkes  learned  that  Messrs  Mason  and  Slidell, 
commissioners  from  the  insurgent  states  to  England  and  France, 
were  about  to  sail  from  that  port  for  St.  Thomas  on  their  way  to 
Europe  in  the  British  mail  •  steamer  Trent.  These  gentlemen  with 
their  families  and  secretaries  had  escaped  from  the  blockade  about 
Charleston  in  a  famous  swift  blockade-runner,  the  Theodora,  which 
had  landed  them  at  Cardenas  in  Cuba.  Captain  Wilkes  was  a  grim, 
taciturn  seaman  of  the  old  school,  which  had  for  its  chief  article  of 
faith  the  celebrated  sentiment  of  Stephen  Decatur — "Our  country! 
In  her  intercourse  with  foreign  nations  may  she  always  be  in  the 
right;  but  our  country,  right  or  wrong," — so  when  he  learned  of  the 
proposed  expedition  of  the  Confederate  emissaries  to  preach  disrup- 
tion of  the  Union  abroad,  there  was,  according  to  his  lights,  but  one 
course  of  action  to  pursue,  and  that  was,  to  intercept  them,  "right 
or  wrong." 

With  this  determination  in  his  mind  Captain  Wilkes  went  to 
sea  on  the  2nd  of  November,  after  having  coaled  ship  in  Havana, 
and  for  a  day  or  two  cruised  along  the  northern  coast  of  Cuba  look- 
ing for  the  Sumter;  then  he  went  over  to  Key  West  hoping  to  find 
the  Powhatan  to  accompany  him  on  his  intended  enterprise,  but 
that  ship  had  gone  to  sea  the  day  before,  thus  making  it  necessary 


for  the  San  Jacinto  to  -watch  for  this  Trent  alone.  The 
scheduled  to  sail  from  Havana  or,  the  7th  of  Noveml 
make  sure  of  her,  Wilkes  went  down  the  coast  some  t\ 
and  forty  miles  to  a  place  on  the  sea  route  to  St.  Thoma 
old  Bahama  Channel  narrows  to  a  width  of  fifteen  mik 
San  Jacinto  arrived  on  ^November  4  and  laid  in  wait  f< 
with  all  the  patience  of  a  red  Mohawk  lurking  sleeple 
trail  over  which  his  enemy  might  pass.  About  noon  o 
8  the  Trent  ran  into  this  fatal  snare  and  was  hove  to 
thrown  across  her  bows,  after  a  shot  had  been  disregard 

The  interesting  details  of  what  happened  when  the 
boarded  are  given  hereafter  in  the  copies  of  official  re] 
boarding  officers.     For  the  present  it  is  sufficient  to  say 
Mason  and  Slidell,  after  refusing  to  leave  the  mail  st 
man-handled    and    put  into  the  boats  of  the  San  Ja* 
aboard  that  vessel  as  prisoners,  and  ultimately  incarcer 
Warren,  Boston  Harbor.     The  Trent  was  allowed  to 
voyage  after  the  commissioners  had  been  taken.    After 
imprisonment   Mason   and    Slidell  were    delivered   to 
government  in  response  to  a  demand  not  over  gracioi 
Earl  Russel.       Captain  Wilkes  made  a  mistake  in  allowi 
to  escape,  for  the  weight  of  precedent,   established  by 
the  British  admiralty  courts,   was  largely  on  the  side  ( 
that  neutral  vessels  knowingly  carrying  officials  or  desp 
enemy   were  liable  to  capture  and  condemnation.     ] 
principle  of  international  law  justified  the  act  of  taking 
sioners  out  of  the  vessel,  and  no  nation  but  England 
sisted  upon  such  a  right;  indeed,  in  1812,   the   United 
gone  to   war  with  the  mother-country  in  opposition 
doctrine  involved  in  Wilkes'  act. 

It  is  not  probable,  however,  that  Wilkes'  technic 
international  law  in  failing  to  take  the  Trent  into  por 
had  any  real  effect  upon  subsequent  events  in  the  case 
cedure  would  have  been  entirely  in  accord  with  the 
rules  of  war,  but  the  wave  of  popular  indignation  am 
swept  over  England  when  the  passengers  of  the  Irent 
with  their  tale,  is-  sulfiVlent  proof  that  considerations 
right  would  not  have  a  determining  part  in  the  action 


British  Government.  The  United  States,  being  fully  employed  in 
the  task  of  suppressing  the  most  gigantic  rebellion  that  ever  threat- 
ened a  nation's  life,  could  not  engage  in  war  with  powerful  neigh- 
bors disposed  to  seek  it,  and  the  demands  made  had  to  be  acceded 
to  whether  agreeable  or  not.  A  few  years  later,  when  the  rebellion 
was  crushed,  and  the  United  States  had  a  million  armed  men,  hard- 
ened by  years  of  campaigning  both  ready  and  willing  for  any  ser- 
vice, and  our  navy,  with  five  hundred  vessels  in  commission,  pos- 
sessed the  heaviest  iron-clads  and  the  swiftest  cruisers  in  the  world, 
another  controversey  between  England  and  our  country  ended  in 
the  former  swallowing  her  pride,  and  accepting  the  decidedly  hu- 
miliating terms  imposed  by  an  arbitration  commission.  The  two 
events,  considered  singly  or  together,  are  an  excellent  illustration 
of  the  truth  of  the  principle,  that  might  more  frequently  than  right 
determines  the  actions  of  nations  as  well  as  of  men. 

The  officers  of  the  San  Jacinto  who  boarded  the  Trent, 
although  performing  a  duty  in  which  they  had  no  person  al'concern, 
were  treated  with  great  contempt  and  indignity  on  board  that  vessel, 
and  exhibited  in  return  a  spirit  of  forbearance  and  dignity  highly 
creditable  to  them,  and  the  service  which  they  represented.  The 
details  of  their  experience  on  board  the  Trent  are  usually  eclipsed 
by  the  more  important  complications  growing  out  of  the  event;  they 
are,  however,  most  interesting  as  showing  what  naval  officers  some- 
times have  to  do  in  the  line  of  their  varied  duties,  and  are  here 
presented  in  the  form  of  the  reports  made  by  the  boarding  officers. 

United  States  Steameb  San  Jacinto, 
At  Sea,  November  12, 1861. 

Sie:  At  1:20  p.  m.,  on  the  8th  instant,  I  repaired  alongside  of 
the  British  mail  packet  in  an  armed  cutter,  accompanied  by  Mr. 
Houston,  second  assistant  engineer,  and  Mr.  Grace,  the  boatswain. 

1  went  on  board  the  Trent  alone,  leaving  the  two  officers  in  the 
boat  with  orders  to  await  until  it  became  necessary  to  show  some 

I  was  shown  up  by  the  first  officer  to  the  quarter-deck,  where  I 
met  the  Captain  and  informed  him  who  I  was,  asking  to  see  the  pas- 
senger list.  He  declined  letting  me  see  it.  I  then  told  him  that  I 
had  information  of  Mr.  Mason,  Mr.   Slidell,   Mr.   Eustis,   and  Mr. 


McFarland  having  taken  their  passage  at  Havana  in  the 
St.  Thomas,  and  would  satisfy  myself  whether  they   wer 
before  allowing  the  steamer  to  proceed.     Mr.  Slidell,  evidi 
ing  his  name  mentioned,  came  up  to  me  and  asked  if  I 
see  him.     Mr.  Mason  soon  joined  us,  and  then  Mr.  East 
McFarland,  when  I  made  known  the  object  of  my  visit. 
tain  of  the  Trent  opposed  anything  like  the  search  of  his 
would  he  consent  to  show  papers  or  passenger  list.     The 
tlemen  above  mentioned  protested  also  against  my  arr< 
sending  them  to  the  United  States  steamer  near  by.   Ther 
siderable  noise  among  the  passengers  just  about  this  time 
led  Mr.  Houston  and  Mr.  Grace  to  repair  on  board  with  s 
eight  men,  all  armed.     After  several  unsuccessful  efforts  fc 
Mr.  Mason  and  Mr.  Slidell,  to  go  with  me  peaceably,  I 
Mr.  Houston  and  ordered  him  to  return  to  the  ship  with 
mation  that  the  four  gentlemen  named  in  your  order  of  th 
atant  were  on  board,  and  force  must  be  applied  to  take  tt 
the  packet. 

About  three  minutes  after  there  was  still  greater  exci 
the  quarter  deck,  which  brought  Mr.  Grace  with  his  arm 
I  however  deemed  the  presence  of  any  armed  men  unnecei 
only  calculated  to  alarm  the  ladies  present,  and  directed  ] 
to  return  to  the  lower  deck,  where  he  had  been  since  first  < 
board.  It  must  have  been  less  than  half  an  hour  after  I  be 
Trent  when  the  second  armed  cutter,  under  Lieutenant  Gr 
alongside,  (only  two  armed  boats  being  used).  He  broug 
third  cutter  eight  marines  and  four  machinists,  in  addition 
of  some  twelve  men.  When  the  marines  and  some  armed 
been  formed  just  out  side  of  the  main  deck  cabin,  where  1 
gentlemen  had  gone  to  pack  up  their  baggage,  I  renewed  j 
to  induce  them  to  accompany  me  on  board — still  refusing  t 
any  me  unless  force  was  applied.  I  called  in  to  my  assisl 
or  five  officers,  and  first  taking  hold  of  Mr.  Mason's  shoul 
another  officer  on  the  opposite  side,  I  went  as  far  as  the  gf 
the  steamer,  and  delivered  him  over  to  Lieutenant  Gre 
placed  in  the  boat.  I  then  returned  for  Mr.  Slidell,  wh 
that  I  must  apply  considerable  force  to  get  him  to  go  with  rr 
in  at  last  three  officers,  he  also  was  taken  in  charge  and  ha 


to  Mr.  Greer.  Mr.  McFarland  and  Mr.  Eustis,  after  protesting, 
went  quietly  into  the  boat.  They  had  been  permitted  to  collect 
their  baggage,  but  were  sent  in  advance  of  it  under  charge  of  Lieu- 
tenant Greer.  I  gave  my  personal  attention  to  the  luggage,  saw  it 
put  in  a  boat  and  sent  in  charge  of  an  officer  to  the  San  Jacinto. 

When  Mr.  Slidell  was  taken  prisoner  a  great  deal  of  noise  was 
made  by  some  of  the  passengers,  which  caused  Lieutenant  Greer  to 
send  the  marines  into  the  cabin.  They  were  immediately  ordered 
to  return  to  their  former  position  outside.  I  carried  out  my  purpose 
without  using  any  force  beyond  what  appears  in  this  report.  The 
mail  agent,  who  is  a  retired  commander  in  the  British  navy,  seem- 
ed to  have  a  great  deal  to  say  as  to  the  propriety  of  my  course,  but 
I  purposely  avoided  all  official  intercourse  with  him.  When  I  finally 
was  leaving  the  steamer  he  made  some  apology  for  his  rude  conduct, 
and  expressed  personally  his  approval  of  the  manner  in  which  I 
had  carried  out  my  orders.  We  parted  company  from  the  Trent  at 
2:30  p.  m. 

Very  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

D.  M.  Fairfax, 
Lieutenant  and  Executive  Officer. 

Captain  Charles  Wilkes,  U.  S.  N., 
Commanding  San  Jacinto. 

United  States  Steamer  San  Jacinto, 
At  Sea,  November  12,  1861. 

Sie:  In  accordance  with  your  instructions  I  submit  the  follow- 
ing: On  November  8th,  between  1  and  2  p.  m.,  I  was  ordered  by 
Lieutenant  Breese,  acting  executive  officer,  to  shove  off  with  the 
third  cutter  and  go  alongside  the  English  mail  steamer,  which 
was  then  lying-to  under  our  guns.  In  the  boat  with  me  were  Third 
Assistant  Engineer  Hall,  Paymaster's  Clerk  Simpson,  Master's 
Mate  Dahlgren,  one  sergeant,  one  corporal,  and  six  privates,  of 
marines;  four  machinists  and  the  crew,  consisting  of  thirteen  men, 
the  whole  party  being  well  armed.  When  I  arrived  on  the  steamer, 
I  was  met  on  the  guard  by  Mr.  Grace,  with  a  message  from  Lieu- 
tenant Fairfax  (who  had  preceded  me  on  board)  to  bring  the  marines 
on  board  and  station  them  outside  of  the  cabin,  which  I  did ;  also  to 



keep  the  spare  men  on  the  guard,  and  to  have  the  boat'f 
readiness  to  jump  on  board  if  needed.  As  soon  as  the  mai 
stationed,  I  had  the  space  outside  and  forward  of  the  cabin 
of  passengers,  and  assumed  a  position  where  I  could  see  1 
Fairfax,  who  was  then  engaged  in  conversation  with  pers 
cabin.  He  shortly  came  out  and  told  me  to  remain  as  I  was. 
went  back  into  the  cabin,  and  in  a  few  minutes  returned 
Mason.  He  had  his  hand  on  his  shoulder,  and  I  think 
had  his  on  the  other  one.  He  transferred  Mr.  Mason  to 
had  the  third  cutter  hauled  up,  into  which  he  got.  Sh 
Mr.  McFarland  came  out  and  got  into  the  boat;  I  think  h< 
accompanied  by  any  of  the  officers.  About  this  time  I  he; 
deal  of  loud  talking  in  the  cabin,  and  above  all  I  heard  i 
voice.  I  could  not  hear  what  she  said.  Mr.  Fairfax  appe 
having  an  altercation  with  some  one.  There  was  much 
created  by  the  passengers  and  ship's  officers,  who  were  u 
kinds  of  disagreeable  and  contemptuous  noises  and  remar 
Just  then  Mr.  Houston  came  to  me  and  said  he  thoi 
would  be  trouble.  I  told  him  to  ask  Mr.  Fairfax  if  I  sh< 
in  the  marines.  He  returned  with  an  answer  to  bring  thei 
that  time  I  heard  some  one  call  out  ' '  shoot  him. "  I  01 
marines  to  come  into  the  cabin,  which  they  did  at  quick  1 
they  advanced  the  passengers  fell  back.  Mr.  Fairfax  th€ 
the  marines  to  go  out  of  the  cabin,  which  they  did,  Mr. 
the  same  time  jumping  out  of  a  window  of  a  state-rooi 
cabin,  where  he  was  arrested  by  Mr.  Fairfax,  and  was  th< 
by  Mr.  Hall  and  Mr.  Grace  to  the  boat,  into  which  he  g 
after  Mr.  Eustis  came  to  the  boat,  accompanied  by  Mr.  ¥ 
then,  by  his  order,  took  charge  of  the  boat  and  conveyed 
tlemen  arrested,  viz:  Messrs.  Slidell,  Mason,  McFai 
Eustis  to  the  San  Jacinto,  where  I  delivered  them  over 
Wilkes.  This  was  about  2  o'clock.  I  then  returned  to  th 
when  I  reached  her  the  baggage  of  the  gentlemen  ' 
brought  up  and  sent  to  the  San  Jacinto.  Soon  after  JV 
told  me  to  send  the  marines  and  spare  hauds  on  board,  w 
He  then  left  me  in  charge  of  our  party  and  went  on  boar 
Jacinto.  About  3  o'clock  she  ran  under  the  Trent's  si 
hailed  and  directed  to  come  on  board,  which  I  did  with 


ing  Mr.  Grace,  Mr.  Dahlgren  and  Mr.  Hall,  who  came  in  another 

Yery  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

James  A.   Grebe, 


Captain  C.  Wilkes, 

Commanding  San  Jaci/nto. 

P.  S.  I  desire  to  add  that  it  was  about  1.35  p.  m.  when  I 
went  alongside  the  Irent.  There  were  but  two  armed  boats  used 
during  the  day;  a  third  boat,  the  crew  of  which  were  unarmed,  went 
alongside  during  the  detention.  When  I  first  went  on  board  with 
the  marines,  and  at  intervals  during  my  stay,  the  officers  of  the 
steamer  made  a  great  many  irritating  remarks  to  each  other  and  to 
the  passengers,  which  were  evidently  intended  for  our  benefit. 
Among  other  things  said  were:  "Did  you  ever  hear  of  such  an  out- 
rage?" "Marines  on  board!  Why,  this  looks  devilish  like 
mutiny."  "  These  Yankees  will  have  to  pay  well  for  this. "  "  This 
is  the  best  thing  in  the  world  for  the  South;  England  will  open  the 
blockade. "  "  We  will  have  a  good  chance  at  them  now. "  "  Did 
you  ever  hear  of  such  a  piratical  act?"  "Why,  this  is  a  perfect 
Bull's  Run!"  "They  would  not  have  dared  to  have  done  it  if  an 
English  man-of-war  had  been  in  sight."  The  mail  agent,  (a  man  in 
the  uniform  of  a  commander  in  the  royal  navy,  I  think)  was  very 
indignant  and  talkative,  and  tried  several  times  to  get  me  into  a  dis- 
cussion of  the  matter.  I  told  him  I  was  not  there  for  that  purpose. 
He  was  very  bitter;  He  told  me  that  the  English  squadron  would 
raise  the  blockade  in  twenty  days  after  his  report  of  this  outrage  (I 
think  he  said  outrage)  got  home;  that  the  Northerners  might  as  well 
give  up  now,  etc. ,  etc. ' '  Most  all  the  officers  of  the  vessel  showed 
an  undisguised  hatred  for  the  Northern  people  and  a  sympathy  for 
the  Confederates.  I  will  do  the  captain  of  the  vessel  the  justice  to 
say  that  he  acted  differently  from  the  rest,  being,  when  I  saw  him, 
very  reserved  and  dignified.  The  oflicers  and  men  of  our  party 
took  no  apparent  notice  of  the  remarks  that  were  made,  and  acted 
with  the  greatest  forbearance. 


Jab.  A.  Geeee. 


United  States  Steameb  San 
At  sea,  November  13, 186 

Sir:  In  obedience  to  your  order  of  the  11th  instant, 
fully  report:  That  upon  going  alongside  of  the  Engli 
Trent,  on  the  8th  of  this  month,  Lieutenant  Fairfax  wen 
ordering  the  boatswain  and  myself  to  remain  in  the  bo: 
minutes  after  this  my  attention  was  attracted  by  persons 
a  loud  and  excited  manner  upon  the  steamer's  upper  dec 
considering  its  meaning  the  noise  was  repeated,  which  d 
to  join  Lieutenant  Fairfax  immediately  on  board,  and 
surrounded  by  the  officers  of  the  ship  and  passengers,  am 
I  recognized  Messrs.  Mason,  Slidell,and  Eustis.  The  c< 
this  time  passes  description.  So  soon,  however,  as  h< 
heard,  the  mail  agent  (who  was  a  retired  lieutenant  or  c 
in  the  British  navy)  protested  against  the  act  of  removi 
gers  from  an  English  steamer.  Lieutenant  Fairfax  reqi 
Mason  to  go  quietly  to  the  San  Jacinto,  but  that  gentlen 
that  he  would  "yield  only  to  force;"  whereupon  I  was 
our  ship  to  report  the  presence  of  the  above-named  i 
together  with  Mr.  McFarland,  and  ask  that  the  remain 
force  be  sent  to  the  Trent,  after  which  I  returned  to  her, 
ing  the  cabin,  saw  Mr.  Fairfax  endeavoring  to  enter  M 
room,  which  was  then  prevented  in  a  measure  by  the 
which  prevailed  in  and  around  that  gentleman's  quarters, 
sengers  (not  including  Mr.  Mason,  Slidell,  Eustis  or  J 
were  disposed  to  give  trouble;  some  of  them  went  so 
threaten,  and  upon  Lieutenant  Greer  being  informed  by 
fact,  he  ordered  the  marines  to  clear  the  passage-way  of 
but  as  Mr.  Slidell  had  now  come  out  of  his  state  room  t! 
window,  where  we  could  get  to  him,  the  order  to  the  n 
countermanded  by  Lieutenant  Fairfax.  Mr.  Slidell  was 
the  boat  by  Mr.  Grace  and  myself,  and  no  more  forci 
than  would  show  what  would  be  done  in  case  of  neces 
Mason  was  taken  in  charge  by  Lieutenant  Fairfax  and  Tl 
ant  Engineer  Hall.  The  two  secretaries  walked  into  tl 

While  we  were  on  board  of  the  2 rent  many  remarks 
reflecting  discreditably  upon  us  and  the  government  of 


States.  No  one  was  more  abusive  than  the  mail  agent,  who  took 
pains  at  the  same  time  to  inform  us  that  he  was  the  only  person  on 
board  officially  connected  with  her  Brittanic  majesty's  government, 
who  he  said  would,  in  consequence  of  this  act,  break  the  blockade 
of  the  southern  United  States  ports.  Another  person,  supposed  to 
be  a  passenger,  was  so  violent  that  the  captain  ordered  him  to 
be  locked  up.  A  short  time  before  leaving  the  steamer  I  was  in- 
formed by  one  of  her  crew  that  the  mail  agent  was  advising  the  cap- 
tain to  arm  the  crew  and  passengers  of  his  ship,  which  I  immediately 
communicated  to  Lieutenant  Greer.  About  3:30  p.  m.  we  returned 
to  the  San  Jacinto. 

I  am,  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

J.  B.  Houston, 

Second  Assistant  Engineer, 

U.  S.  Steamer  San  Jacinto. 
Captain  Charles  Wilkes, 


United  States  Steamer  San  Jacinto, 
At  sea,  November  13,  1861. 

Sir: — In  obedience  to  your  order  of  the  11th  instant,  I  respect- 
fully make  the  following  report  of  what  came  under  my  observation 
onboard  the  mail  steamer  Trent  whilst  hove-to  under  our  guns  on 
the  8th  instant: 

I  boarded  the  steamer  in  the  third  cutter,  under  the  command 
of  Lieutenant  Greer.  Immediately  on  reaching  the  steamer's  deck 
I  stationed  four  men  (an  oiler,  assistant  oiler  and  two  firemen)  who 
accompanied  me,  in  the  port  gang- way.  I  then  went  into  the  cabin, 
where  I  saw  Lieutenant  Fairfax,  surrounded  by  a  large  number  of 
passengers  and  the  officers  of  the  ship.  He  was  conversing  with  Mr. 
Mason,  and  endeavoring  to  get  him  to  come  peaceably  on  board  this 
ship.  Mr.  Mason  refused  to  comply  unless  by  force,  and  taking 
hold  of  Mr.  Mason's  coat  collar,  gave  an  order,  "Gentlemen,  lay 
hands  on  him. ' '  I  then  laid  hold  of  him  by  the  coat  collar,  when 
Mr.  Mason  said  he  would  yield  under  protest.  I  accompanied  him 
as  far  as  the  boat,  which  was  at  the  port  gang- way. 

Returning  to  the  cabin,  Lieutenant  Fairfax  was  at  Mr.  Slidell's 
room.     After  a  short  time  Mr.  Slidell  came  from  his  room  through 


a  side  window.  He  also  refused  Lieutenant  Fairfax's  orde 
on  board  this  ship,  unless  by  force.  I,  with  several  of  th( 
then  caught  hold,  and  used  sufficient  power  to  remove  him 
cabin.  He  was  accompanied  to  the  boat  by  Second  Assists 
neer  Houston  and  Boatswain  Grace.  I  then  received  an  or 
both  Lieutenants  Fairfax  and  Greer  to  retain  the  boat  unti 
Eustis  and  McFarland  were  found.  I  remained  in  the  gai 
Messrs.  Mason,  Slidell,  Eustis  and  McFarland  shoved  off, 
ant  Greer  having  charge  of  the  gentlemen. 

There  was  a  great  deal  of  excitement  and  talking  d 
whole  time,  the  officers  of  the  steamer  endeavoring  parti< 
thwart  Lieutenant  Fairfax  in  carrying  out  his  orders.  T 
used  very  harsh  expressions  toward  us,  calling  us  pirates 
expedition,  etc. ,  and  threatened  to  open  our  blockade  in  a  f  c 
At  one  time  the  officers  and  passengers  made  a  demonstrati 
moment  the  marine  guard  came  hastily  in  the  cabin,  but  w< 
diately  ordered  back  by  Lieutenant  Fairfax. 

As  far  as  I  am  able  to  judge,  everything  was  conduct 
part  in  a  peaceable,  quiet  and  gentlemanly  manner,  and 
markably  so  by  Lieutenant  Fairfax,  who  certainly  had  suffic 
to  resort  to  arms.  I  remained  aboard  the  Irent  till  aftei 
gage  belonging  to  the  gentlemen  had  been  sent,  and  finallj 
to  this  ship  with  Lieutenant  Greer. 

Most  respectfully,  your  obedient  servant, 

Geo.  W.  Hall, 
Third  Assistant  Engineer, 
Captain  Charles  Wilkes, 

Commanding  U.  S.  Steamer  Sam  Jacinto. 

Lieutenants  Fairfax  and  Greer,  who  had  such  a  co 
part  in  this  affair,  have  both  since  made  enviable  recordi 
tinguished  services  in  the  navy,  and  have  both  risen  to  tb 
rear  admiral;  the  former  was  retired  in  1881  and  died  in 
1894.  Hear  Admiral  Greer  is  also  on  the  retired  list  no 
had  the  distinguished  honor  of  being  the  senior  officer  of 
for  some  months  before  his  retirement.  Second  Assistant 
Houston  served  his  country  faithfully  throughout  the  war  an 
from  the  naval  service  in  July,  1865,  to  engage  in  busii 


has  been  eminently  successful,  having  been  a  director,  vice-presi- 
dent and  president  of  the  Pacific  Mail  Steamship  Company  for  a 
long  period  of  years,  and  only  recently  gave  up  active  business  to 
enter  into  the  quiet  enjoyment  of  a  fortune  which  his  talents  have 
enabled  him  to  amass  during  his  busy  life.  Third  Assistant  Engi- 
neer Hall  served  faithfully  throughout  the  rebellion  and  resigned 
from  the  service  not  long  after  the  close  of  the  war. 

The  chief  engineer  of  the  San  Jacmto  was  Mr.  John  Faron,who 
three  years  later  was  killed  on  board  the  le&wmseh  with  all  five  of 
his  assistant  engineers  in  the  battle  of  Mobile  Bay. 


"The  man  who  goes  into  action  in  a  wooden  vessel  is  a  fool,  am 
sends  him  there  is  a  villain." — Admiral  Sir  John  Hat. 

1861.  The  Civil  War,  continued— The  First  American  Iron  Clads— The? 
Condemned  by  a  Board  of  Naval  Officers — Authority  to  Build  Ai 
Conferred  by  Act  of  Congress — Beport  of  Board  on  Iron-Clad 
Galena,  New  Ironsides,  and  Monitor — Armored  Vessels  in 

AT  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War  the  United  States  had 
i\  war  vessels,  although  the  example  of  the  unfinish 
battery  and  the  presentation  of  plans  for  an  armored  floa 
by  the  Swedish- American  inventor  John  Ericsson  to  tl 
Napoleon  III.  had  resulted  in  the  adoption  of  iron  armc 
a  limited  extent.  Three  iron-plated  floating  batteries  ha 
by  the  French  in  the  Crimean  War,  and  at  the  beginning 
1861  that  nation  had  La  Gloire  and  three  other  large  wc 
frigates  in  commission,  all  sheathed  with  light  iron  armc 
teen  others  in  process  of  construction.  England  also  1 
the  field  and  had  at  sea  the  Warrior,  Black  Prince,  Dej 
tance  and  Royal  Oak,  large  armored  steam-ships  similar  t< 
with  sixteen  other  armor-clads  in  various  stages  of  c< 
These  British  and  French  vessels  were  large  full-rigged 
auxiliary  steam  power,  dependent  upon  the  wind  fully 
upon  steam  for  locomotion;  their  iron  sides  constituted  tl 
ture  wherein  they  resembled  the  Stevens'  battery  or  the 
gested  by  Ericsson  to  Napoleon  in  1854. 

A  joint  resolution  of  Congress  approved  June  24,  18 
the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  appoint  a  board  to  examine  1 
battery  and  ascertain  the  cost  and  time  necessary  for  its 
and  the  expediency  thereof.  The  board  consisted  of  C 
Silas  H.  Stringham  and  William  Inman,  Captain  T. 
Chief  Engineer  A.  C.  Stimers,  and  Joseph  Henry,  Esq 
of  the  Smithsonian  Institution.  The  report  of  this  boan 
until  the  end  of  the  year,  was  adverse  to  the  completior 


battery,  and  the  project  was  then  dropped,  so  far  as  the  government 
waB  concerned. 

An  extra  session  of  Congress  was  assembled  by  presidential 
proclamation  July  4r,  1861,  to  which,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy 
made  a  report  on  the  condition  of  the  navy  at  that  time.  In  this 
report  the  Secretary  referred  to  the  attention  given  by  England  and 
France  to  iron-clad  war-steamers,  and  asked  for  authority  to  con- 
struct such  vessels  if  an  investigation  by  a  competent  board  should 
show  such  construction  to  be  advisable.  Congress  responded  with 
liberality  and  promptness  by  an  act,  approved  August  3,  1861,  en- 
titled "An  Act  to  provide  for  the  construction  of  one  or  more 
armored  ships  and  floating  batteries,  and  for  other  purposes, ' '  it  be- 
ing brief  and  to  the  point,  as  follows: 

Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and  House  of  Representatives  of  the 
United  States  of  America  in  Congress  assembled,  That  the  Secretary  of 
the  Navy  be,  and  is  hereby  authorized  and  directed  to  appoint  a 
board  of  three  skilful  naval  officers  to  investigate  the  plans  and  spe- 
cifications that  may  be  submitted  for  the  construction  or  completing 
of  iron  or  steel-clad  steamships  or  steam  batteries,  and,  on  their  re- 
port, should  it  be  favorable,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  will  cause 
one  or  more  armored  or  iron  or  steel-clad  steamships  or  floating  steam 
batteries  to  be  built;  and  there  is  hereby  appropriated,  out  of  any 
money  in  the  treasury  not  otherwise  appropriated,  the  sum  of  one 
million  five  hundred  thousand  dollars. 

Sec.  2.  And  be  it  further  enacted,  That  in  case  of  a  vacancy  in 
the  office  of  engineer-in-chief  of  the  navy  the  appointment  thereto 
shall  be  made  from  the  list  of  chief  engineers. 

August  7,  the  Navy  Department  issued  an  advertisement  ask- 
ing for  bids  from  responsible  persons  for  the  construction  of  one  or 
more  iron-clad  steam-vessels  of  war,  either  of  iron  or  of  wood  and 
iron  combined,  for  sea  or  river  service,  the  advertisement  giving  in 
general  terms  the  principal  requirements.  These  were,  that  vessels 
proposed  must  be  of  not  less  than  ten,  nor  more  than  sixteen  feet 
draft;  must  carry  an  armament  of  from  eighty  to  one  hundred  and 
twenty  tons  weight, with  provisions  and  stores  for  from  one  hundred 
and  sixty-five  to  three  hundred  persons,  according  to  armament,  for 


six'ty  days,  with  coal  for  eight  days;  must  have  two  masts 
rope  standing  rigging  for  navigating  the  sea.  The  lighte 
water,  compatible  with  other  requisites,  was  preferred, 
descriptions  and  drawings  of  vessel,  armor  and  machinery 
quired,  as  well  as  estimates  of  cost  and  time  for  com 
the  whole.  Twenty-five  days  from  date  of  advertisemem 
lowed  for  the  presentation  of  plans. 

A  naval  board,  composed  of  Commodore  Joseph  Sir 
modore  Hiram  Paulding,  and  Commander  Charles  H.  I 
appointed  on  the  eighth  of  August  to  examine  carefull; 
submitted  and  report  upon  the  same.  The  report  of  t' 
dated  September  16,  1861,  is  both  interesting  and anstra 
many  points  of  view,  showing  as  it  does  the  opinions  ente 
the  naval  men  of  that  period  regarding  armor,  and  its  proba 
it  also  unfolds  some  of  the  rare  schemes  of  inventors  am 
who  rushed  to  their  country's  succor.     It  follows  in  full: 


Navy  Department, 
Bureau  of  Yards  and  Docks,  Septembe 

Sir:  The  undersigned,  constituting  a  board  appointe 
order  of  the  8th  ultimo,  proceeded  to  the  duty  assigned  ti 
accordance  with  the  first  section  of  an  act  of  Congress,  ap 
of  August  1861,  directing  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  "to 
board  of  three  skilful  naval  officers  to  investigate  the  plans 
fications  that  may  be  submitted  for  the  construction  or  c 
of  iron-clad  steam-ships  or  steam  batteries,  and  on  the 
should  it  be  favorable,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  will  cau 
more  armored  or  iron -clad  or  steel  clad  steamships  or  floa' 
batteries  to  be  built;  and  there  is  hereby  appropriated,  o 
money  in  the  treasury  not  otherwise  appropriated,  the  si 
million  five  hundred  thousand  dollars. ' ' 

Distrustful  of  our  ability  to  discharge  this  duty,  whic 
requires  should  be  performed  by  three  skilful  naval  office] 
proach  the  subject  with  diffidence,  having  no  experienc 
scanty  knowledge  in  this  branch  of  naval  architecture. 

The  planB  submitted  are  so  various,  and  in  many  r< 
entirelv  dissimilar,  that  without  a  more  thorough  knowled 


mode  of  construction  and  the  resisting  properties  of  iron  than  we 
possess,  it  is  very  likely  that  some  of  our  conclusions  may  prove 

Application  was  made  to  the  Department  for  a  naval  construc- 
tor, to  be  placed  under  our  orders,  with  whom  we  might  consult; 
but  it  appears  that  they  are  all  so  employed  on  important  service 
that  none  could  be  assigned  to  this  duty. 

The  construction  of  iron  clad  steamships  of  war  is  now  zealously 
claiming  the  attention  of  foreign  naval  powers.  France  led ;  Eng- 
land followed,  and  is  now  somewhat  extensively  engaged  in  the  sys- 
tem; and  other  powers  seem  to  emulate  their  example,  though  on  a 
smaller  scale. 

Opinions  differ  amongst  naval  and  scientific  men  as  to  the 
policy  of  adopting  the  iron  armature  for  ships-of-war.  For  coast 
and  harbor  defence  they  are  undoubtedly  formidable  adjuncts  to 
fortifications  on  land.  As  cruising  vessels,  however,  we  are  skepti- 
cal as  to  their  advantage  and  ultimate  adoption.  But  whilst  other 
nations  are  endeavoring  to  perfect  them,  we  must  not  remain  idle. 

The  enormous  load  of  iron,  as  so  much  additional  weight  to  the 
vessel;  the  great  breadth  of  beam  necessary  to  give  her  stability;  the 
short  supply  of  coal  she  will  be  able  to  stow  in  bunkers;  the  greater 
power  required  to  propel  her;  and  the  largely  increased  cost  of  con- 
struction, are  objections  to  this  class  of  vessels  as  cruisers,  which  we 
believe  it  is  difficult  successfully  to  overcome.  For  river  and  har- 
bor service  we  consider  iron-clad  vessels  of  light  draught,  or  floating 
batteries  thus  shielded,  as  very  important;  and  we  feel  at  this  mo- 
ment the  necessity  of  them  on  some  of  our  rivers  and  inlets  to  en- 
force obedience  to  the  laws.  We  however  do  not  hesitate  to  express 
the  opinion,  notwithstanding  all  we  have  heard  or  seen  written  on 
the  subject,  that  no  ship  or  floating  battery,  however  heavily  she 
may  be  plated,  can  cope  successfully  with  a  properly  constructed 
fortification  of  masonry.  The  one  is  fixed  and  immovable  and 
though  constructed  of  a  material  which  may  be  shattered  by  shot,  can 
be  covered  if  need  be,  by  the  same  or  much  heavier  armor  than  a 
floating  vessel  can  bear,  whilst  the  other  is  subject  to  disturbances 
by  winds  and  waves,  and  to  the  powerful  effects  of  tides  and  currents. 

Armored  ships  or  batteries  may  be  employed  advantageously 
to  pass  fortifications  on  land  for  ulterior  objects  of  attack,  to  run  a 


blockade,  or  to  reduce  temporary  batteries  on  the  shore 
and  the  approaches  to  our  harbors. 

From  what  we  know  of  the  comparative  advantages 
vantages  of  ships  constructed  of  wood  over  those  of  i: 
clearly  of  opinion  that  no  iron-clad  vessel  of  equal  displa 
be  made  to  obtain  the  same  speed  as  one  not  thus  encur 
cause  her  form  would  be  better "  adapted  to  speed.  He 
dimensions,  the  unyielding  nature  of  the  shield,  detract 
in  a  heavy  sea  from  the  life,  buoyancy  and  spring  which 
of  wood  possesses. 

Wooden  ships  may  be  said  to  be  but  coffins  for 
when  brought  in  conflict  with  iron-clad  vessels;  but  the  s 
former,  we  take  for  granted,  being  greater  than  that  of 
they  can  readily  choose  their  position  and  keep  out  of  r 

Recent  improvements  in  the  form  and  preparations 
tiles,  and  their  increased  capacity  for  destruction,  have 
large  amount  of  ingenuity  and  skill  to  devise  means  fc 
them  in  the  construction  of  ships-of-war.  As  yet  we  kn< 
ing  superior  to  the  large  and  heavy  spherical  shot  in  its 
effects  on  vessels,  whether  plated  or  not. 

Rifled  guns  have  greater  range,  but  the  conical  she 
produce  the  crushing  effect  of  spherical  shot. 

It  is  assumed  that  4£  inch  plates  are  the  heaviest  ar 
going  vessel  can  safely  carry.  These  plates  should  be  of  1 
and  rolled  in  large,  long  pieces.  This  thickness  of  arm( 
lieved,  will  resist  all  projectiles  now  in  use  at  a  distar. 
yards,  especially  if  the  ship's  sides  are  angular. 

Plates  hammered  in  large  masses  are  less  fibrous 
than  when  rolled.  The  question  whether  wooden  backi 
elastic  substance  behind  the  iron  plating,  will  tend  to  re 
the  frame  of  the  ships  from  the  crushing  effect  of  a  heavy 
is  not  yet  decided.  Major  Barnard  says:  "to  put  an  elast 
behind  the  iron  is  to  insure  its  destruction. ' '  With  all 
to  such  creditable  authority,  we  may  suggest  that  it  is 
backing  of  some  elastic  substance  (soft  wood,  perhaps  is 
might  relieve  the  frame  of  the  ship  somewhat  from  the  ter 
of  a  heavy  projectile,  though  the  plate  should  not  be  frac 


With  respect  to  a  comparison  between  ships  of  iron  and  those 
of  wood,  without  plating,  high  authorities  in  England  differ  as  to 
which  is  the  best.  The  tops  of  ships  built  of  iron,  we  are  told,  wear 
out  three  bottoms,  whilst  the  bottoms  of  those  built  of  wood  will 
outwear  three  tops.  In  deciding  on  the  relative  merits  of  iron  and 
wooden-framed  vessels,  for  each  of  which  we  have  offers,  the  board 
is  of  opinion  that  it  would  be  well  to  try  a  specimen  of  each,  as  both 
have  distinguished  advocates.  One  strong  objection  to  iron  vessels, 
which,  so  far  as  we  know,  has  not  yet  been  overcome,  is  the  oxida- 
tion or  rust  in  salt  water,  and  their  liability  of  becoming  foul  under 
water  by  the  attachment  of  sea  grass  and  animalcules  to  their  bot- 
toms. The  best  preventive  we  know  of  is  a  coating  of  pure  zinc 
paint,  which  so  long  as  it  lasts,  is  believed  to  be  an  antidote  to  this 
cause  of  evil. 

After  these  brief  remarks  on  the  subject  generally,  we  proceed 
to  notice  the  plans  and  offers  referred  to  us  for  the  construction  of 
plated  vessels  and  floating  batteries. 

It  has  been  suggested  that  the  most  ready  mode  of  obtaining  an 
iron-clad  ship  of  war  would  be  to  contract  with  responsible  parties 
in  England  for  its  complete  construction;  and  we  are  assured  that 
parties  there  are  ready  to  engage  in  such  an  enterprise  on  terms 
more  reasonable,  perhaps,  than  such  vessels  could  be  built  in 
this  country,  having  much  greater  experience  and  facilities  than  we 
possess.  Indeed,  we  are  informed  there  are  no  mills  and  machinery 
in  this  country  capable  of  rolling  iron  ty  inches  thick,  though  plates 
might  be  hammered  to  that  thickness  in  many  of  our  work-shops.  As 
before  observed,  rolled  iron  is  considered  much  the  best,  and  the 
difficulty  of  rolling  it  increases  rapidly  with  the  increase  of  thick- 
ness. It  has,  however,  occured  to  us  that  a  difficulty  might  arise 
with  the  British  government  in  case  we  should  undertake  to  con- 
struct ships-of-war  in  that  country,  which  might  complicate  their  de- 
livery; and,  moreover,  we  are  of  opinion  that  every  people  or 
nation  who  can  maintain  a  navy  should  be  capable  of  constructing  it 

Our  immediate  demands  seem  to  require,  first,  so  far  as  practi- 
cable, vessels  invulnerable  to  shot,  of  light  draught  of  water,  to 
penetrate  our  shoal  harbors,  rivers  and  bayous.  We  therefore  favor 
the  construction  of  this  class  of  vessels  before  going  into  a  more 
perfect   system   of   large   iron-clad   sea-going  vessels  of  war.     We 


are  here  met  with  the  difficulty  of  encumbering  small  ' 
armor,  which,  from  their  size,  they  are  unable  to  bear.  "VS 
less  recommend  that  contracts  be  made  with  responsible 
the  construction  of  one  or  more  iron-clad  vessels  or  batterii 
a  draught  of  water  as  practicable,  consistent  with  their  weig 
Meanwhile,  availing  ourselves  of  the  experience  thu 
and  the  improvements  which  we  believe  are  yet  to  be  vm 
naval  powers  in  building  iron-clad  ships,  we  would  adv 
struction,  in  our  own  navy  yards,  of  one  or  more  of  th 
upon  a  large  and  more  perfect  scale,  when  Congress  sha 
authorize  it.  The  amount  now  appropriated  is  not  suffic; 
both  classes  of  vessels  to  any  great  extent. 

We  have  made  a  synopsis  of  the  propositions  and  s] 
submitted,  which  we  annex,  and  now  proceed  to  state,  ii 
result  of  our  decisions  upon  the  offers  presented  to  us. 

J.  Ericsson,  New  York,  page  19. — This  plan  of  at 
tery  is  novel,  but  seems  to  be  based  upon  a  plan  which 
the  battery  shot  and  shell  proof.  We  are  somewhat  a] 
that  her  properties  for  sea  are  not  such  as  a  sea-going  v( 
possess.  But  she  may  be  moved  from  one  place  to  anol 
coast  in  smooth  water.  We  recommend  that  an  experinn 
with  one  battery  of  this  description  on  the  terms  propc 
guarantee  and  forfeiture  in  case  of  failure  in  any  of  th 
and  points  of  the  vessel  as  proposed. 

Price,  $275,000;  length  of  vessel,  172  feet;  breadtl 
41  feet;  depth  of  hold,  11£  feet;  time,  100  days;  draug] 
10  feet;  displacement,  1,255  tons;  speed  per  hour,  9  stal 

John  W.  Ntsteom,  Philadelphia,  1216  Chestnut  St 
The  plan  of  (quadruple)  guns  is  not  known  and   cannot 
ered.     The   dimensions   would   not   float   the   vessel   a 
guards,  which  we  are  not  satisfied  would  repel  shot, 
recommend  the  plan. 

Price,  about  $175,000;  length  of  vessel,  175  feet; 
beam,  27  feet;  depth  of  hold,  13  feet;  time,  four  mont 
of  water,  10  feet;  displacement,  875  tons;  speed  p« 

THE  STEAM  NAVY  OF  THE  UNITED  STATES.  .         269 

last  proposal  (No.  3,  page  2)  for  the  heavy  plating  is  the  only  one 
we  have  considered;  but  there  is  neither  drawing  nor  model,  and 
the  capacity  of  the  vessel,  we  think,  will  not  bear  the  armor  and 
armament  proposed. 

Price,  $ 621, 000;  length  of  vessel,  225  feet;  breadth  of  beam, 
45^  feet;  depth  of  hold,  15^  feet;  time,  9  months;  draught  of  water 
13  feet;  displacement,  2,454  tons;  speed  per  hour,  10  knots. 

John  C.  Lk  Febbe,  Boston,  page  9. — Description  deficient. 
Not  recommended.  Sent  a  model,  but  neither  price,  time,  nor 
dimensions  stated. 

E.  S.  Renwick,  New  York,  335  Broadway,  presents  drawings, 
specifications  and  model  of  an  iron-clad  vessel  of  large  capacity  and 
powerful  engines,  with  great  speed,  capable  of  carrying  a  heavy 
battery,  and  stated  to  be  shot-proof  and  a  good  sea  boat.  The 
form  and  manner  of  construction  and  proportions  of  the  vessel  are 
novel,  and  will  attract  the  attention  of  scientific  and  practical  men. 
She  is  of  very  light  draft  of  water,  and  on  the  question  whether  she 
will  prove  to  be  a  safe  and  comfortable  sea-boat  we  do  not  express 
a  decided  opinion.  Yessels  of  somewhat  similar  form,  in  the  part 
of  the  vessel  which  is  emersed,  of  light  draught  of  water  on  our 
western  lakes,  have,  we  believe,  proved  entirely  satisfactory  in  all 
weathers.  To  counteract  the  effect  of  the  waves,  when  disturbed 
by  the  winds,  by  producing  a  jerk,  or  sudden  rolling  motion  of  flat 
shoal  vessels,  it  is  proposed  to  carry  a  sufficient  weight  above  the 
center  of  gravity  to  counterpoise  the  heavy  weight  below,  which  is 
done  in  this  ship  by  the  immense  iron  armor.  If,  after  a  full  dis- 
cussion and  examination  by  experts  on  this  plan,  it  should  be  de- 
cided that  she  is  a  safe  vessel  for  sea  service,  we  would  recommend 
the  construction  upon  it  of  one  ship  at  one  of  our  dock  yards. 

The  estimate  cost  of  this  ship,  $1,500,000,  precludes  action 
upon  the  plan  until  further  appropriations  shall  be  made  by  Con- 
gress for  such  objects. 

Time  not  stated;  length  of  vessel  400  feet;  breadth  of  beam, 
60  feet;  depth  of  hold,  33  feet;  draught  of  water,  16  feet;  displace- 
ment, 6,520  tons;  speed  per  hour,  at  least  18  miles. 

Whitney  &  Rowland,  Brooklyn,  Greenpoint,  page  13;  propose 
an  iron  gunboat,  armor  of  bars  of  iron  and  thin  plate  over  it.  No 
price  stated.  Dimensions  of  vessel,  we  think,  will  not  bear  the 
weight  and  possess  stability.    Time,  5  months.    Not  recommended. 


Length  of  vessel,  140  feet;  breadth  of  beam,  28  fet 
hold,  13f  feet;  draught  of  water,  8  feet. 

Donald  McKay,  Boston,  page  &.- — Vessel,  in  gen 
sions  and  armor,  approved.  The  speed  estimated  slow, 
precludes  the  consideration  of  construction  by  the  board 

Price,, $1,000,000;  length  of  vessel,  227  feet;  breac 
50  feet;  depth  of  hold,  26£  feet;  time,  9  to  10  months; 
water,  14  feet;  displacement,  3,100  tons;  speed  per  1 

William  H.  Wood,  Jersey  City,  N.  J.,  page  1 
sions  will  not  float  the  guns  high  enough;  not  recommei 

Price,  $255,000;  length  of  vessel,  160  feet;  breadt 
34  feet;  depth  of  hold,  22  feet;  time,  4  months;  draugb 
13  feet;  displacement,  1,215  tons;  speed,  not  stated. 

Merrick  &  Sons,  Philadelphia,  pages  7  and  8- 
wood  and  iron  combined.  This  proposition  we  considi 
practical  one  for  heavy  armor.  We  recommend  that  a 
made  with  that  party,  under  a  guarantee,  with  forfeitur 
failure  to  comply  with  the  specifications;  and  that  the 
quire  the  plates  to  be  15  feet  long  and  36  inches  wide,  \ 
vation  of  some  modifications  which  may  occur  as  the 
gresses,  not  to  affect  the  cost. 

Price,  $780,000;  length  of  vessel,  220  feet;  breadt 
60  feet;  depth  of  hold,  23  feet;  time,  9  months;  draugl 
13  feet;  displacement,  3,296  tons;  speed  per  hour,  9-J  k 

Benjamin  Rathbukn,  ,  page  20. — We  do  not 

the  plan  for  adoption. 

Price  not  stated;  length  of  vessel  not  stated;  bread' 
80  feet;  depth  of  hold,  74  feet;  time  not  stated;  draugl 
25  feet;  displacement,  15,000,  tons;  speed  not  stated;  s 

Henry  E,.  Dunham,  New  York,  page  11. — Vessel 
for  the  appropriation;  no   drawings  or  specifications; 

Price,  $1,200,000;  length  of  vessel,  325  feet;  bread 
60  feet;  depth  of  hold  not  stated;  time,  15  to  18  monl 
of  water,  16  feet;  displacement  not  stated;  speed  p< 


pose  a  vessel  to  be  iron-clad,  od  the  rail  and  plate  principle,  and  to 
obtain  high  speed.  The  objection  to  this  vessel  is  the  fear  that  she 
will  not  float  her  armor  and  load  sufficiently  high,  and  have  stabil- 
ity enough  for  a  sea  vessel.  With  a  guarantee  that  she  shall  do 
these,  we  recommend  on  that  basis  a  contract. 

Price,  $235,250;  length  of  vessel,  180  feet;  breadth  of  beam, 
—  feet;  depth  of  hold,  12f  feet;  time,  4  months;  draught  of  water, 
10  feet;  displacement,  —  tons;  speed  per  hour,  12  knots. 

John  Westwood,  Cincinnati,  Ohio,  page  17. — Vessel  of  wood, 
with  iron  armor;  plan  good  enough,  but  the  breadth  not  enough  to 
bear  the  armor.  No  detailed  specification;  no  price  or  time  stated; 
only  a  general  drawing.     Not  recommended. 

Neafie  &  Levy,  Philadelphia,  page  5. — No  plans  or  drawings, 
therefore  not  considered.     Neither  price  nor  time  stated. 

Length  of  vessel,  200  feet;  breadth  of  beam,  40  feet;  depth  of 
hold,  15  feet;  draught  of  water,  13  feet;  displacement,  1,748  tons; 
speed  per  hour,  10  knots. 

Wm.  Noeeis,  New  York,  26  Cedar  street,  page  6. — Iron  boat 
without  armor — too  small  and  not  recommended. 

Price,  $32,000;  length  of  vessel  83  feet;  breadth  of  beam  25 
feet;  depth  of  hold  14  feet;  time  60  to  75  days;  draught  of  water.  3 
feet;  displacement  90  tons;  speed  not  stated. 

Wm.  Kingsley,  Washington,  D.  C,  page  10,  proposes  a  rubier- 
clad  vessel,  which  we  cannot  recommend.  No  price  or  dimensions 

A.  Beebe,  New  York,  82  Broadway,  page  18. — Specification 
and  sketch  defective.     Plan  not  approved. 

Price,  $50,000;  length  of  vessel,  120  feet;  breadth  of  beam,  55 
feet;  depth  not  stated;  time  100  days;  draught  of  water,  6  ft.  dis- 
placement, 1,000  tons;  speed  per  hour,  8  knots. 

These  three  propositions  recommended,  viz:  Bushnell  &  Co., 
New  Haven,  Connecticut;  Merrick  &  Sons,  Philadelphia,  and  J. 
Ericsson,  New  York,  will  absorb  $1,290,050  of  the  appropriation 
of  $1,500,000,  leaving  $209,750  yet  unexpended. 

The  board  recommends  that  armor  with  heavy  guns  be  placed 
on  one  of  our  river  craft,  or,  if  none  will  bear  it,  to  construct  a 
scow,  which  will  answer,  to  plate  and  shield  the  guns,  for  the  river 
service  on  the  Potomac,  to  be  constructed  or  prepared  by  the  gov- 
ernment at  the  navy  yard  here  for  immediate  use. 


We  would  further  recommend  that  the  Department  : 
gress  at  the  next  session,  an  appropriation,  for  experii 
iron  plates  of  different  kinds,  of  $  10, 000. 

All  of  which  is  respectfully  submitted, 


H.  Pi 

C.  H. 

Hon.  Gideon  Welles, 

Secretary  of  the  Navy. 

The  first  of  the  three  plans  accepted  resulted  in 

dated  September  27,  1861,  with   C.  S.  Bushnell   &  C 

Haven,  Conn.,  for  the  armored  gunboat  that  was  nam 

She  was  built  at  Mystic  Bridge,  Conn.,  from  designs   ] 

Mr.  S.  H.  Pook,  afterward  a  constructor  in  the  navy,  foi 

and  was  completed  in  Apri!,  1862,  being  almost  immedi 

after  in  action  and  badly  damaged  at  Drury's   Bluff, 

river.       In  form  the  Galena  was  similar  to  an  ordinary 

with  the  important  difference  that  her  sides  tumbled 

angle  of  nearly  forty-five  degrees  and  were  covered  wit 

and  plates,  protecting  a  gun  deck  in  which  six  large 

mounted.     She  was  rated  as  of  738  tons  burden,  and  Wi 

a  two-masted  foretopsail  schooner.    There  were  two  Eric 

ing  lever  engines,   with  horizontal  cylinders  for'y-eigl] 

diameter  and  three  feet  stroke,  driving  a  four-bladed 

peller,  twelve  feet  in  diameter  and  twenty  feet  pitch. 

supplied  by  two  horizontal  tubular  boilers  with  three 

each,    two  blower   engines   for   fan    blast   being    prov 

Galena's  armor  was  about  four  inches  in  thickness  and  i 

shattered  at  Drury's  Bluff  that  she  was  not  considered 

an  armor  clad,  although  she  continued  in  active  service 

the  war,  and,  lashed  to  the  unfortunate   Oneida,  was  ir 

fleet  in  Mobile  Bay.     In  the  early  '70'y,  under  the  guise 

ing"  her,  the  Department  built  the  1,900  ton  sloop  of 

that  was  for  many  years  a  prominent  figure  in  our  wood 

The  contract  with  Merr'.ck  &  Sons  of  Philadelphia  gav 
States  navy  the  New  Ironsides,  beyond  question  the  fine 
formidable  example  of  a  battle-ship  in  existence  at   tl 


first  took  the  sea.  The  hull  was  built  of  white  oak  at  Cramp's  ship- 
yard in  Philadelphia,  Merrick  &  Sons  building  the  machinery  at 
their  own  works.  The  engines  were  of  only  about  seven  hundred 
horse  power  and  could  drive  the  ship  scarcely  six  knots  an  hour, 
but  that  was  regarded  as  fast  enough  for  the  service  required  of  her, 
as  it  was  not  apprehended  that  she  would  be  obliged  to  run  away 
from  anything  then  afloat.  The  contract  price  was  $780,000.  She 
was  of  4,120  tons  displacement;  232  feet  long;  57£  feet  beam,  and 
mounted  a  very  heavy  battery,  consisting  of  sixteen  Xl-inch  Dahl- 
gren  guns,  two  200-pounder  Parrott  rifles,  and  four  24-pounder 

The  New  Ironsides  was  large  and  decidedly  ship-shape  in  ap- 
pearance, with  a  projecting  ram  bow,  the  sides  for  the  length  of  the 
main  battery  being  sheathed  with  four  inches  of  iron  plate  armor, 
the  bow  and  stern  sections  being  unarmored.  The  main  battery 
was  also  protected  with  athwart-ship  bulkheads,  or  walls,  of  the 
same  thickness  of  armor  as  the  sides,  so  she  was  really  a  case-mated 
ship.  She  was  originally  bark-rigged,  but  when  sent  to  the  seat  of 
war  she  was  stripped  for  fighting,  the  masts  being  taken  out  at 
Port  Boyal  and  replaced  with  light  clothes-poles,  with  which  rig 
her  appearance  was  remarkably  like  that  of  a  modern  war- vessel. 
In  1863  the  masts  were  replaced  previous  to  a  trip  north  for  repairs, 
but  were  again  removed,  this  time  at  Norfolk,  before  she  again 
went  into  action. 

Completed  late  in  1862,  she  proceeded  at  once  to  the  front  and 
was  actively  employed  during  the  remainder  of  the  rebellion,  it 
being  said  of  her  that  she  was  in  action  more  days  than  any  other 
vessel  of  our  navy  during  the  war.  Mr.  William  S.  Wells  of  New 
Haven,  Connecticut,  recently  the  Rear  Admiral  of  the  National 
Association  of  Naval  Veterans,  was  attached  to  the  New  Ironsides 
as  an  assistant  engineer  during  her  entire  period  of  war  service,  be- 
ginning with  her  first  commission,  and  was  the  only  officer  who  re- 
mained in  her  that  length  of  time.  To  him  Admiral  Porter  wrote 
long  after  the  war  that  the  New  Ironsides  had  a  racord  for  having 
been  hammered  more  thoroughly  than  any  .vessel  that  ever  floated, 
and  gave,  with  other  interesting  facts  about  the  ship,  the  statement 
that  in  a  series  of  engagements  from  July  18  to  September  8,  1863, 
she  had  fired  four  thousand  four  hundred  and  thirty-nine  eleven- 


inch  projectiles.  In  one  engagement  with  the  batteries 
van's  Island  she  was  struck  seventy  times  within  three  1 
aside  from  some  temporary  damage  to  the  port-shutters, 
engineers  quickly  repaired,  was  in  perfect  fighting  condit 
end  of  the  action.  On  another  occasion  she  very  narrow 
being  blown  up  by  a  torpedo.  At  the  close  of  the  war  sh 
up  at  the  League  Island  navy  yard,  where,  on  the  night  c 
ber  15-16,  1866,  she  was  burned  to  the  water's  edge,  ha^ 
fire  in  some  unknown  manner  late  at  night  and  not  discos 
the  flames  were  beyond  control. 

The  picture  of  this  famous  ship  which  appears  in  ti 
reproduction  of  a  drawing  made  by  Second  Assistant  Eng 
liam  S.  Wells,  before  referred  to  as  having  served  in  he 
out  her  war  career,  and  represents  the  New  Ironsides  exa 
looked  in  the  battles  in  Charleston  harbor  in  1863. 

The  third  proposal  accepted  resulted  in  the  cons 
John  Ericcson's  Monitor,  probably  the  most  famous  s 
making  cratt  that  ever  floated,  unless  we  revert  to  very  a 
tory  and  except  Noah's  Ark.  The  contract  for  this  nove 
was  made  October  4,  1861,  between  John  Ericsson  and  ] 
on  one  part,  and  Gideon  Welles,  as  Secretary  of  the  Ns 
other.  It  provided  that  the  parties  of  the  first  part  shoul 
an  iron-clad,  shot-proof  steam  battery,  of  iron  and  wood 
on  Ericsson's  plan;  the  length  to  be  179  feet;  extreme  b 
feet,  and  depth  5  feet,  or  larger  if  found  necessary,  t< 
required  armament  and  stores.  A  sea  speed  of  eight  knc 
maintained  for  twelve  consecutive  hours  was  stipulated, 
tract  price  was  $275,000,  to  be  paid  in  five  instalments  < 
each  and  one  of  $25,000,  payments  to  be  made  upon  cei 
the  naval  superintendent  of  construction  when  in  his  judg 
had  progressed  sufficiently  to  warrant  them.  A  rese 
twenty-five  per  cent,  was  withheld  from  each  paymen 
tained  until  after  the  completion  and  satisfactory  trial  of 
not  to  exceed  ninety  days  after  she  was  ready  for  sea. 

A  clause  of  the  contract  provided  that  in  case  the 
not  develop  the  stipulated  speed  or  failed  in  other  stat 
ments  the  contractors  should  refund  to  the  United  Sta 
amount  of  money  paid  them.     This  clause  is  the  basis 






repeated  statement  that  Ericsson  and  his  sureties  paid  for  the  build- 
ing of  the  vessel  themselves;  this  was  not  the  case,  as  all  the  pay- 
ments, excepting  the  twenty-five  per  cent,  reservation,  were  made 
before  the  Monitor  left  New  York,  although  the  contract  would 
have  required  the  contractors  to  pay  for  her  had  it  not  been  for  her 
fortunate  encounter  with  the  Merrirnac,  as  her  speed  and  some 
other  qualities  could  not  have  been  regarded  as  satisfactory.  Her 
performance  in  Hampton  Roads  was  regarded  as  a  satisfactory  test 
and  the  Navy  Department  paid  the  reservations  within  a  week 
thereafter  without  insisting  upon  the  full  letter  of  the  contract  being 
carried  out  in  minor  particulars.  A  curious  clause  in  the  contract, 
which  Ericsson  ignored  and  the  Department  did  not  insist  upon,  in- 
dicates how  reluctant  the  naval  advisers  of  the  Secretary  were  to 
authorise  an  entire  departure  from  the  method  of  marine  propulsion 
which  they  had  grown  up  to  believe  was  the  only  reliable  one.  The 
clause  referred  to  required  the  contractors  to  "furnish  masts,  spars, 
sails,  and  rigging  of  sufficient  dimensions  to  drive  the  vessel  at  the 
rate  of  six  knots  per  hour  in  a  fair  breeze  of  wind. ' ' 

The  adoption  of  the  plan  proposed  by  Ericsson  was  due  to  a 
train  of  accidental  circumstances  far  more  than  to  any  percipience 
on  the  part  of  th,e  board  to  which  it  was  submitted.  After  being 
promised  the  contract  for  the  Galena,  Mr.  C.  S.  Bushnell  called 
upon  Ericsson  in  New  York  for  professional  advice  regarding  some 
of  the  details  of  his  plans,  and  during  the  interview  Ericsson  resur- 
rected from  a  rubbish  heap  in  the  corner  of  his  office  the  model  that 
he  had  made  for  the  French  naval  officials  in  1854,  and  exhibited 
it  as  his  idea  of  what  an  iron-clad  should  be.  Bushnell  instantly 
perceived  the  possibilities  of  the  design,  but  could  not  induce 
Ericsson  to  submit  it  to  the  naval  board,  the  inventor  having 
already  had  a  surfeit  of  experiences  with  the  Navy  Department  in 
years  gone  by.  He  did  succeed,  however,  in  getting  Ericsson's 
permission  to  take  the  model  and  submit  it  himself.  Knowing  that 
Secretary  Welles,  who  was  his  personal  friend,  was  then  in  Con- 
necticut, Mr.  Bushnell  hastened  thither  and  laid  the  plan  before 
him,  the  Secretary  being  so  impressed  with  its  merits  that  he  urged 
Bushnell  to  take  it  to  Washington  immediately,  promising  that  he 
would,  if  necessary,  order  the  board  to  extend  the  limit  of  time 
prescribed  for  the  submission  of  plans. 


Through  influential  friends  Mr.  Bushnell  obtai 
interview  with  President  Lincoln  and  so  enlisted  his 
hibiting  the  model  and  explaining  the  simplicity  of  c 
ship  it  represented  that  the  President  voluntarily  of] 
pany  him  to  the  Navy  Department  the  next  day.  1 
time  Mr.  Bushnell  and  the  President  called  on  Ass 
Fox  and  exhibited  lhe  model  to  him  and  a  number  c 
including  members  of  the  iron-clad  board.  All  wer 
the  simplicity  and  novelty  of  the  plan,  and  some  fa 
a  trial ;  others  ridiculed  it.  The  following  day  Coi 
convened  his  board  and  gave  Mr.  Bushnell  an  officii 
gentleman  quitting  the  session  with  a  hope  that  he  ] 
presented  his  case;  he  was  doomed  to  disappointmei 
the  next  morning  he  found  the  interest  of  the  previc 
gone,  and  the  members  of  the  board  indifferent  and  sk< 
commodores  told  him  that  they  would  vote  for  a  trh 
if  he  could  get  Commander  Davis  to  vote  for  it,  Da' 
member  of  the  board  being  evidently  used  as  the  ex 
minister  the  coup  die  grace  to  suspected  "cranks 
officer,  when  appealed  to  by  Bushnell,  grew  merry  c 
garded  as  the  absurdities  of  the  project  and  told  ] 
might  ' '  take  the  little  thing  home  and  worship  it,  ; 
be  idolatry,  because  it  was  in  the  image  of  nothinj 
above  or  on  the  earth  beneath  or  in  the  waters  unde 

Almost  in  despair,  Mr.  Bushnell  resolved  to  pli 
by  calling  in  the  eloquent  voice  of  Ericsson  to  exp 
vention,  a  difficult  thing  to  do,  for  Ericsson  had  bee 
treated  by  the  Navy  Department  in  regard  to  the  P, 
had  often  announced  his  determination  never  to  se 
ington  again.  Bushnell  proceeded  to  New  York  an 
ing  the  state  of  affairs  in  much  brighter  colors  t 
facts  warranted,  induced  Ericsson  to  go  to  Washing 
before  the  board.  Arriving  there,  he  was  coldly  r< 
formed  that  his  plan  had  already  been  rejected;  mor 
nant,  he  was  about  to  leave,  but  a  remark  dropped 

1  Letter  from  Mr.   Bushnell  to  Hon.   Gideon  Welles;  p 
nvim-pVi's  T.ifft  of  John  Ericsson.  Vol.  1..  t>aere  250 


Smith  to  the  effect  that  the  cause  for  rejection  was  lack  of  stability 
excited  his  professional  pride  and  he  launched  forth  into  a  most 
masterful  and  eloquent  defense  of  his  model,  convincing  the  mem- 
bers of  the  board  in  short  order  that  he  knew  more  of  stability  and 
ships  in  general  than  had  ever  been  dreamed  of  in  their  philosophy. 
The  impression,  he  made  gained  him  another  audience  with  the 
board,  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  who  had  fortunately  returned  to 
Washington,  being  present  on  the  second  occasion;  after  Ericsson 
had  charmed  everyone  in  the  room  with  his  glowing  description  of 
what  his  vessel  could  do,  Mr.  Welles  asked  each  member  of  the 
board  in  turn  if  he  approved  of  a  contract  being  made  with  Ericsson, 
and  each  in  turn  gently  answered,  "  Yes,  by  all  means."  No  more 
time  was  lost;  the  Secretary  told  Ericsson  that  he  would  be  awarded 
a  contract,  and  urged  him  to  begin  work  at  once  without  waiting  for 
formalities,  which  he  did  with  such  vim  that  in  the  few  days  that 
elapsed  before  the  contract  was  drawn  up  the  keel  plates  of  the 
Monitor  were  put  through  the  rolling  mill.  Thus  by  the  precar- 
ious train  of  happenings  above  related  did  Ericsson's  model  nar- 
rowly escape  remaining  for  an  indefinite  time  in  the  dusty  oblivion 
of  his  workshop. 

The  name  Monitor  was  given  by  Ericsson  himself  to  his  iron- 
clad, his  reasons  for  the  selection  being  thus  stated  in  a  letter  of 
his  to  Assistant  Secretary  Fox,  dated  January  20,  1862: 

"  Sib:  In  accordance  with  your  request,  I  now  submit  for  your 
approbation  a  name  for  the  floating  battery  at  Grreenpoint.  The 
impregnable  and  aggressive  character  of  this  structure  will  admonish 
the  leaders  of  the  Southern  Bebellion  that  the  batteries  on  the  banks 
of  their  rivers  will  no  longer  present  barriers  to  the  entrance  of  the 
Union  forces.  The  iron-clad  intruder  will  thus  prove  a  severe 
monitor  to  those  leaders.  But  there  are  other  leaders  who  will  also 
be  startled  and  admonished  by  the  booming  of  the  guns  from  the 
impregnable  iron  turret.  'Downing  Street'  will  hardly  view  with 
indifference  this  last  '  Yankee  notion',  this  monitor.  To  the  Lords 
of  the  Admiralty  the  new  craft  will  be  a  monitor,  suggesting  doubts 
as  to  the  propriety  of  completing  those  four  steel-clad  ships  at  three 
and  a  half  millions  apiece.  On  these  and  many  similar  grounds,  I 
propose  to  name  the  new  battery  Monitor. ' ' 


Every  part  of  this  wonderful  vessel  was  designe 
Ericsson,  and  she  was  purely  and  wholly  an  engineers'  sh 
free  from  the  trappings  and  adjuncts  pertaining  to  the  s 
of  the  period  in  which  she  was  built.  Hull,  machiner 
gun  carriages,  anchor  hoists,  everything,  all  were  built. f 
ing  drawings  made  by  Ericsson's  own  hands.  In  orde: 
the  work  it  was  given  out  by  sub-contracts  to  different 
ments:  the  hull  was  built  by  Thomas  F.  Rowland  at  the  ( 
Iron  "Works,  Grreenpoint;  the  propelling  engines  and  al 
machinery  by  Delamater  &  Co. ,  and  the  turret,  built  u 
layers  of  one-inch  iron  plates  bolted  together,  by  the  N< 
Works.  Chief  Engineer  Alban  C.  Stimers,  TJ.  S.  Na 
sented  the  Government  as  the  inspector  of  construction  o1 
fabric.  Within  one  hundred  working  days  from  the  laj 
keel  the  Monitor  was  practically  completed  and  her  ei 
been  operated  under  steam.     As  built,  her  extreme  leng 


a.  awning,    b.  pilot  house  of  iron  "  logs."     c.  anchor  well.     d.  w 
body  or  raft,  armored  on  sides  and  deck.     e.  iron  hull  or  under-bodj 

feel;  breadth,  41£  feet;  depth  of  hold,  11£  feet;  draft  of 
feet;  inside  diameter  of  turret,  20  feet;  height  of  turr 
The  deck  was  plated  with  iron  an  inch  thick,  and  the  sk 
upper  body,  or  wooden  cover  of  the  iron  hull  as  it  may 
were  protected  with  five  inches  of  iron  armor.  Two  Xl-i 
gren  guns  were  mounted  in  the  turret.  The  engines  were  of 
vibrating-lever  type,  with  cylinders  three  feet  in  diameter  a 
six  inches  stroke,  driving  a  propeller  nine  feet  in  diamete 
While  the  Monitor  was  being  built,  the  Navy  Depai 
Captain  Ericsson  were  liberally  ridiculed  and  abused  by 
press  for  what  was  regarded  as  a  fatuitous  waste  of  publ 
and  Ericsson  himself,  in  the  midst  of  his  overwhelming  1 



constantly  to  calm  the  doubts  of  Commodore  Smith,  who  appears 
from  his  many  letters  full  of  foreboding  to  Ericsson,  to  have  repented 
of  his  approval  of  this  revolutionary  design  in  naval  architecture. 
In  the  midst  of  all  this  hostility  and  opposition,  Mr.  Secretary  Welles, 
Captain  Ericsson,  the  three  gentlemen  who  became  his  sureties 
(Messrs.  C.  S.  Bushnell,  John  A.  Griswold,  and  John  F.  Winslow), 
and  Chief  Engineer  Stimers  remained  steadfast  in  their  faith  in  the 
new  departure,  and  seem  to  have  been  about  the  only  persons  in- 
terested who  did  not  regard  the  scheme  as  a  crazy  dream,  doomed 
to  utter  failure.  The  performance  of  the  Monitor  in  battle  imme- 
diately after  her  completion  caused  a  sudden  change  in  sentiment, 
naval  and  civil,  and  many  who  had  been  loudest  in  jeering  became 


.-fc^g-"^  ~.V~  -r  -  i'  O  * 

BOILER  (2)   OP   THE   MONITOR,    1861. 

equally  loud  in  praise,  announcing  their  own  prescience.  Credit  for 
the  creation  of  the  Monitor  belongs  largely  to  Mr.  Secretary  Welles 
for  appreciating  its  possibilities  and  for  his  action  in  influencing  the 
armor-clad  board  to  approve  the  original  plans;  after  him, the  credit 
is  probably  fairly  distributed  in  his  own  words  as  follows: 

"  To  the  distinguished  inventor  of  this  new-class  vessel,  to  his 
sureties,  to  the  board  of  naval  officers  who  reported  in  her  favor,  to 
the  vigilant  and  very  able  naval  officer  who  superintended  her  con- 
struction, the  Secretary  has,  on  repeated  occasions,  tendered  his 
obligations  and  his  thanks  for  their  patriotic  services  in  coming  to 
the  assistance  of  the  department  and  the  government  in  a  great 
emergency.     Great  praise  and   commendation  are  due  to  them  re- 


spectively,  but  no  one  can  be  justified  in  attempting  to 
himself  undue  merit  at  the  expense  of  others.  The  Ni 
ment,  under  great  embarrassments,  was  compelled  to  e 
new  field  in  naval  warfare,  and  in  this  experiment  it  had 
and  active  and  efficient  co-operation  of  Captain  John  Er 
that  of  the  wealthy  and  deserving  gentlemen  who  aided 
velopment  of  this  new  class  of  vessels,  which  have  entei 
navy  of  the  United  States,  and  been  elsewhere  iucorpora 
service  of  other  governments. ' '  x 

The  year  1861  also  saw  the  appearance  of  iron-clad 
the  Mississippi  Eiver,  built  by  the  War  Department  for 
nection  with  the  army.  Seven  of  thse  iron-clads  were 
distinguished  engineer  of  St.  Louis,  Mr.  James  B.  Ed 
contract  dated  August  7,  1861,  and  were  mostly  compl 
end  of  the  year.  They  were  175  feet  long,  50  feet  beai 
propelled  by  a  huge  paddle-wheel  amidships  near  the  s 
ing  in  an  opening  18  feet  wide  and  60  feet  long  fore  and 
parts  of  the  after  body  of  the  vessel  thus  formed  being  ; 
the  wheel  by  a  flying  deck,  known  in  river  parlance  as 
tail."  The  wheel  was  22  feet  in  diameter.  Almost  the  ent 
covered  with  a  casemate,  or  superstructure,  with  sides  slo 
and  upward  at  an  angle  of  forty-five  degrees,  enclosing  1 
machinery  and  paddle-wheel.  The  expectation  being  t< 
on  as  a  rule,  the  front  end  of  the  casemate  was  plated  wi 
of  iron,  backed  with  twenty  inches  of  oak.  The  sides 
engines  and  boilers  had  the  same  thickness  of  iron  withi 
backing,  and  the  remainder  of  the  surface  was  unprotect 
gines  were  of  the  usual  high-pressure  river  type,  an 
boilers,  were  in  constant  danger  from  shot  in  action,  th« 
of  the  boats  making  it  impossible  for  the  machinery  to  b 
low  the  water  line.  These  Edes  gun-boats  were  named 
ondelet,  Cincinnati,  Louisville,  Mound  City,  Pittsburg 
Louis,  after  towns  in  the  Mississippi  valley.  They  had  1 
tal  high-pressure  steam  cylinders,  22  inches  in  diamete 
stroke,  and  five  cylindrical  flue  boilers,  3  feet  in  diam 
feet  long. 

1  Senate  Ex.  Doc,  No.  86;  40th  Congress,  2d  Session. 






Two  other  steamers — the  Essex  and  Benton — nearly  twice  as 
large  as  the  Edes'  boats,  were  bought  and  converted  into  gunboats, the 
armor  both  iron  and  wood  backing,  being  heavier  than  that  of 
the  seven  contract  vessels.  A  naval  officer  (Commander  John 
Eodgers  first,  and  Captain  A.  EL  Foote  a  few  months  later)  had 
general  command  of  this  flotilla  under  the  army  authorities,  and  of- 
ficers of  the  regular  navy  were  assigned  to  the  command  of  the  dif- 
ferent steamers:  the  subordinate  officers  were  volunteers,  recruited 
chiefly  from  the  captains,  engineers,  mates  and  pilots  of  the  river, 
and  the  crews  were  decidedly  mixed — soldiers,  rivermen,  men-of- 
war's-men  from  the  East,  and  sailors  from  the  Great  Lakes.  The 
naval  commanders  were  of  necessity  junior  by  relative  rank  to  the 
numerous  generals  and  colonels  doing  duty  about  them,  and  this 
produced  more  or  less  friction,  as  the  army  officers  had  authority  to 
give  orders  to  the  gunboats,  or  ' '  interfere  ' '  with  them,  as  Captain 
Foote  expressed  it.  In  July,  1862  this  unpleasant  state  of  affairs 
was  done  away  with  by  the  transferring  of  the  entire  river  flotilla  to 
the  Navy  Department. 



"  Then,  like  a  kraken  huge  and  black. 
She  crushed  our  ribs  in  her  iron  grasp  ! 
Down  went  the  Cumberland  all  a  wrack, 

With  a  sudden  shudder  of  death, 

And  the  cannon's  breath 
For  her  dying  gasp." — Longfellow. 

1862.  The  Civil  War,  Continued.  Capture  of  Roanoke  Island  and  Elizabeth  Ci1 
The  Merrimac  and  her  Raid.  Destruction  of  the  Congress  and  Cumbb 
land.  The  Monitor  Completed  and  Commissioned.  Her  Chief  Enginei 
Isaac  Newton.  Voyage  of  the  Monitor  from  New  York  and  her  arrival 
Hampton  Roads. 

AT  the  beginning  of  1862  a  large  combined  military  and  nav 
force  under  the  command  of  Flag  Officer  L.  M.  Goldsborouj 
and  Brigadier  General  A.  E.  Burnside  was  fitted  out  at  Annapol 
for  the  purpose  of  entering  the  Sounds  of  North  Carolina  throuj 
Hatteras  Inlet,  and  capturing  the  fortified  positions  of  the  enemy  < 
Roanoke  Island,  the  possession  of  which  would  give  to  the  Unic 
forces  the  military  command  of  those  waters.  This  expedition  h 
passed  into  history  as  the  "Burnside  Expedition,"  but  it  might  wi 
much  propriety  be  designated  by  Goldsborough's  name,  ina 
much  as  its  character  was  essentially  naval.  Owing  to  the  shoalne 
of  water  on  the  bulkhead  at  Hatteras  Inlet  and  at  many  places 
the  Sounds,  vessels  of  light  draft  were  necessarily  used,  several 
them  being  armed  ferry-boats,  and  others  were  purchased  tugs,  riv 
steamers,  freight-boats,  etc.,  not  one  of  them  having  been  built  f 
war  purposes.  It  should  be  remarked  in  regard  to  the  ferry-boa 
that  in  spite  of  their  uncouth  appearance  they  were  found  remarkab 
useful  for  coast  and  river  service,  combining  light  draft  with  hanc 
ness  in  narrow  places,  being  able  to  steam  and  steer  equally  well 
either  direction,  while  the  broad  overhanging  deck  furnished  : 
excellent  gun  platform  on  which  heavy  batteries  were  habitual 

Proceeding   down   Chesapeake   Bay,    the   flotilla  assembled 
Hampton   Roads  and  sailed  thence  the  11th  of  January,  being  th 


composed  of  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  vessels,  about  twenty  of 
which  belonged  to  the  navy  and  the  remainder  were  purchased  or 
chartered  army  transports,  carrying  some  twelve  thousand  soldiers, 
with  horses,  ammunition,  provisions,  and  all  the  paraphernalia  of 
war.  With  much  tooting  of  whistles,  waving  of  flags,  and  cheering 
of  soldiers,  the  expedition  moved  out  towards  the  Capes  of  the 
Chesapeake,  being  probably  the  most  motley  and  piebald  aggregation 
of  craft  ever  afloat  with  warlike  intent.  The  enthusiasm  of  the 
soldiers  speedily  subsided  when  the  Atlantic  was  reached  and  the 
voyage  down  the  coast  was  so  devoid  of  pleasure  that  men  who 
subsequently  became  hardened  veterans  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac 
now  refer  to  that  sea  experience  with  more  abhorrence  than  they 
exhibit  in  recalling  the  dreadful  scenes  of  Chancellorsville  and 

The  fleet  arrived  off  Hatteras  January  13,  and  spent  some 
two  weeks  in  the  very  difficult  task  of  working  over  the  shoals  inside 
the  Sounds,  the  army  transports  not  all  getting  inside  until  the  5th 
of  February.  Three  of  the  transports  were  wrecked  and  a  con- 
siderable number  of  horses,  rifles,  and  ordnance  stores  were  lost. 
One  of  the  naval  steamers,  the  Whitehall,  was  so  injured  in  trying  to 
get  in  that  she  had  to  return  to  Hampton  Eoads  for  repairs.  As 
finally  collected  inside,  the  naval  force  consisted  of  nineteen  vessels 
arranged  in  three  divisions,  commanded  respectively  by  Lieutenant 
Reed  "Werden  in  the  Stars  and  Stripes,  Lieutenant  A.  Murray  in  the 
Louisiana,  and  Lieutenant  H.  K.  Davenport  in  the  Hetzel.  A 
number  of  the  army  vessels  were  armed  with  one  or  more  guns  and 
were  intended  for  fighting  as  well  as  transport  purposes ;  these, 
bearing  such  names  as  Picket,  Lancer,  Huzzar,&c,  were  formed  into 
a  division  under  the  command  of  Commander  S.  F.  Hazard,  of  the 
navy.  Mr.  Chas.  H.  Haswell,  who  has  figured  so  prominently  in 
the  earlier  chapters  of  this  work,  was  attached  to  General  Burnside's 
staff  as  fleet  engineer,  and  Lieutenant  D.  W.  Flagler,  now  brigadier 
general  and  Chief  of  the  Ordnance  Department  of  the  army,  was 
Burnside's  chief  ordnance  officer.  Flag  Officer  Goldsborough's 
flagship,  the  Philadelphia,  not  being  suited  for  safe  handling  over 
the  lumpy  and  uncertain  bottom  about  Roanoke  Island,  did  not 
participate  in  the  ensuing  engagement,  Goldsborough  temporarily 
transferring  his  flag  and  going,  with  his  fleet  captain,  Commander 
A.  L.  Case,  into  action  in  the  armed  ferry-boat  Southfield. 


February  7th  the  fleet  moved  up  and  engaged  the  shore  batten 
and  a  small  squadron  of  gunboats  of  the  enemy  with  such  good  effe 
that  by  midnight  Burnside  had  been  able  to  land  over  ten  thousa] 
troops.  The  next  day  the  attack  was  begun  at  daybreak  and  co 
tinued  until  the  middle  of  the  afternoon,  when  a  bold  charge  of  t 
military  forces  gained  possession  of  the  enemy's  strongest  positio 
and  compelled  his  surrender.  About  three  thousand  Confederat 
were  made  prisoners,  the  remainder  escaping  in  their  gunboats 
Elizabeth  City  near  the  Albemarle  end  of  the  Dismal   Swamp  cam 

The  casualties  in  the  fleet  were  small  considering  the  charact 
of  the  vessels  and  the  severe  bombardment  they  underwent,  the  tot 
loss  amounting  to  seven  killed  and  sixteen  wounded.  Two  of  ti 
killed  were  officers — Charles  Harris,  Master's  Mate  of  the  Hetu 
and  Acting  Second  Assistant  Engineer  Stephen  Mealius,  senior  ei 
gineer  of  the  Seymour.  Mr  Mealius  was  struck  in  the  hip  by  a  3 
pound  shot  and  so  injured  that  he  died  about  a  week  later,  the  san 
shot  killing  a  coal-heaver  at  his  side.  These  two  were  the  on 
casualties  on  the  Seymour.  The  unsuitability  of  the  vessels  for  w 
service  was  shown  by  the  fact  that  several  of  them  were  temporari 
disabled  during  the  attack  by  injuries  to  their  machinery.  The  cros 
head  and  one  of  the  slides  of  the  engine  of  the  Hunchback  were  sh 
away,  and  the  Commodore  Perry  was  partly  crippled  by  a  shot  whi 
passed  between  the  engine  and  boiler  and  destroyed  the  feed-wat 
tank.  A  shell  struck  the  upper  deck  of  the  Ceres  and  glanci) 
downward  from  a  beam  in  very  curious  flight  passed  through  t' 
lower  deck  and  rolled  into  one  of  the  ash  pits  where  it  explode 
hurling  fire  and  grate-  bars  in  all  directions. 

One  episode  of  the  fight  brought  Chief   Engineer  Haswell  in 
enviable  prominence  for  gallantry,  the  affair  being  thus  related 
Frank  Leslie's    Pictorial  History  of  the  War:     "During  her  effoi 
to  get  near  the  fort,  the  Ranger  got  aground,  and  for  a  few  momer 
was  in  great  danger,  being  a  stationary  target  for  the  rebel  gun 
Mr.  Charles  Haswell,   Engineer-in-chief  of  the  fleet,   who  was 
command   of  the  steamer  Tempest,  at  this  critical  juncture  went 
the  rescue,  and  taking  her  hawser,  towed  the  Ranger  out  .of  dang 
into  deep  water  again.     The  act  was  greatly  applauded." 

Immediately  after  the  capture  of  Koanoke  Island,  Flag  Offic 
Goldsborough  despatched  his  second  in  command,   Commander 


3.  Rowan,  with  fourteen  of  the  steamers  to  Elizabeth  City  to  attack 
;he  Confederate  gunboats,  all  of  which  had  taken  refuge  there  with 
;he  exception  of  the  Ourlew  which  had  been  so  badly  damaged  in  the 
tight  of  the  7th  that  she  had  been  set  on  fire  and  destroyed.  Feb- 
ruary 10th  Rowan's  squadron  attacked  the  enemy  and  destroyed  all 
ais  vessels  except  one,  the  Ellis,  which  was  captured  in  good  condi- 
;ion  and  converted  into  a  Federal  gunboat,  performing  good  service 
is  such  in  the  waters  of  the  Sounds  until  her  loss  by  stranding  near 
the  end  of  the  year.  At  the  time  of  her  loss  she  was  under  the 
command  of  Lieutenant  Wm.  B.  Cushing,  then  rising  into  promi- 
nence by  virtue  of  a  courage  at  once  heroic  and  reckless.  For 
exceptional  excellence  in  the  action  at  Elizabeth  City  Mr.  John 
Cahill,  second  assistant  engineer  and  acting  chief  of  the  Underwriter, 
was  highly  commended  in  the  report  of  his  commanding  officer, 
Lieutenant  William  N.  Jeffers,  who  praised  Mr.  Cahill's  manage- 
ment of  the  engineer  department  and  also  his  services  in  working 
the  after  gun  during  the  fight.  The  same  engagement  furnished  an 
instance  of  remarkable  courage  and  presence  of  mind  on  the  part  of 
John  Davis,  gunner's  mate  of  the  Valley  City,  who,  when  the  maga- 
zine was  set  on  fire  by  a  shell,  deliberately  sat  down  in  an  open 
barrel  of  powder  and  prevented  its  ignition  until  the  fire  division 
came  to  the  rescue. 

After  the  affair  at  Elizabeth  City  an  expedition  consisting  of 
the  Shawslieen,  Lockwood,  and  two  or  three  smaller  vessels,  all  under 
the  command  of  Lieutenant  Jeffers,  was  sent  to  drive  the  enemy 
away  from  the  mouth  of  the  Chesapeake  and  Albemarle  canal  and 
to  block  up  that  water-way.  On  February  13,  after  shelling  the 
position  and  driving  the  enemy  back  half  a  mile  or  more,  a  force  of 
sailors  and  engine-room  men  under  Acting  Master  Graves  and 
Second  Assistant  Engineer  John  L.  Lay,  acting  chief  of  the  Louisiana, 
was  landed  and  destroyed  the  machinery  of  a  large  dredging  machine, 
afterward  sinking  it  and  some  schooners  in  the  canal,  completely 
obstructing  it.  Mr.  Lay,  who  afterward  became  prominent  in  the 
navy  in  connection  with  the  torpedo  service,  was  highly  commended 
in  the  commanding  officer's  report  for  the  thorough  manner  in  which 
the  work  had  been  done. 

The  story  of  how  the  fine  frigate  Merrimac  was  lost  to  the  Union 
has  been  told  in  a  former  chapter.     After  gaining  possession  of  the 


Norfolk  navy  yard  the  Confederates  lost  no  time  in  making  repa 
and  reaping  the  benefit  of  their  enormous  prize.  Their  most  va 
able  booty  consisted  of  the  great  number  of  guns,  mostly  uninjun 
and  the  vast  quantities  of  ordnance  and  equipment  supplies  that  i 
into  their  hands,  but  they  gave  attention  also  to  the  ships  that  1 
been  scuttled.  The  Germantown,  Plymouth  and  Merrimac  wi 
raised  and  the  first  two  easily  restored  to  a  serviceable  conditk 
but  were  not  equipped  for  sea.  The  failure  to  attempt  to  make  i 
of  these  two  ships  may  be  attributed  to  the  fact  that  some  of  i 
most  able  and  progressive  officers  of  the  old  navy  had  joined  ■ 
Confederacy  and  these  gentlemen,  from  having  studiously  obsen 
the  tendencies  of  war-ship  development,  were  ready  to  accept  1 
inevitable  and  admit  that  the  day  of  the  sailing  ship  of  war  was  ov 
They  had  discerned  the  growing  shadow  of  coming  events  and 
this  regard  were  far  ahead  of  their  naval  brethern  at  the  North,  -w 
did  not  awake  from  the  spell  of  old  beliefs  until  the  Southerners  gs 
them  a  rude  and  terrible  object  lesson. 

The  upper  works  of  the  Merrimac  had  been  burned  as  she  sa 
but  all  the  lower  hull,  as  well  as  the  machinery,  was  found  in 
good  condition  as  could  be  expected  after  a  month's  submersion, 
board,  consisting  of  Engineer-in-Chief  William  P.  Williamson,  Li 
tenant  John  M.  Brooke,  and  Chief  Constructor  John  L.  Porter  ^ 
assembled  early  in  June  to  determine  upon  a  plan  for  converting 
Merrimac  into  an  iron-clad  battery,  and  a  plan  was  adopted  with 
any  great  delay.  Lieutenant  Brooke  was  given  credit  at  the  time 
the  newspaper  and  official  reports  for  having  originated  the  des 
adopted,  and  the  question  has  been  a  matter  of  dispute  and  conl 
versy  ever  since.  Constructor  Porter  claimed  the  honor  and  he 
doubtedly  made  the  drawings  from  which  the  vessel  was  rec 
structed,  as  that  was  a  duty  pertaining  to  his  office,  but  he  mi 
have  made  them  without  originating  them.  In  Scharf  's  Historj 
the  Confederate  States'  Navy  the  matter  is  gone  over  at  length  i 
Mr.  Porter's  claim  very  fully  supported.  Chief  Engineer  Tl 
Williamson,  U.  S.  Navy,  who  is  a  son  of  the  Confederate  Engini 
in-Chief,  has  informed  the  author  that  years  before  the  war,  when 
terest  in  the  Stevens  battery  had  directed  the  minds  of  naval  me: 
the  possibilities  of  iron  armor,  his  father  had  made  drawings  of 
iron-clad  war  vessel,  and  that  the  reconstructed  Merrimac  was 


;eneral  design,  an  exact  reproduction  of  those  plans.  "Williamson 
leyond  doubt  submitted  his  design  and  Porter  developed  it,  the  two 
nen  as  representative  ship  engineers  of  the  South  being  jointly  en- 
itled  to  the  credit  of  having  created  the  vessel  which  became  the 
ype  and  embodied  the  ideas  of  the  engineers  of  the  South  of  what  an 
.rmored  war-ship  should  be. 

The  damaged  hull  of  the  Merrimac  was  rebuilt  up  to  the  level  of 
he  berth  deck  and  a  huge  cast  iron  spur  was  fitted  on  the  bow  about 
wo  feet  below  the  water-line  and  projecting  eighteen  inches  beyond 
he  cutwater.  When  equipped  for  service,  with  coal  and  stores  on 
loard,  it  was  designed  that  the  vessel  should  float  with  her  deck 
lightly  submerged.  On  the  central  part  of  the  deck  extending  one 
Lundred  and  seventy  feet  fore  and  aft  and  the  full  width  of  the 
essel  athwartship  was  erected  a  citadel  or  casemate,  with  rounded 
mds,  the  sides  sloping  at  an  angle  of  forty-five  degrees  and  extend- 
ng  some  two  feet  below  the  water  line  along  the  sides,  or  eaves,  as 
he  lower  edges  have  appropriately  been  called.  This  casemate  was 
even  feet  high  in  the  clear,  its  flat  top  being  covered  with  a  wooden 
jrating  to  let  light  and  air  inside,  and  forming  the  promenade  or 
par  deck  of  the  ship.  The  structure  was  built  of  pine,  twenty  inches 
n  thickness,  sheathed  with  four  inches  of  oak  planking  and  this  in 
urn  with  two  layers  of  2-inch  iron  bars  or  plates,  these  being  eight 
nches  wide  and  about  ten  feet  long.  The  first  layer  of  these  armor 
)ars  was  put  on  horizontally  like  a  ship's  planking,  the  other,  or 
mter  course  being  up  and  down.  Through-bolts,  one  and  three- 
sighths  inches  in  diameter  secured  inside  fastened  the  armor  to  the 
vooden  superstructure.  The  battery  mounted  in  this  floating  strong- 
lold  consisted  of  a  VH-inch  Brooke  rifle  pivoted  in  each  of  the 
•ounded  ends  and  eight  guns  in  broadside,  four  on  each  side,  six  of 
he  latter  being  IX-inch  Dahlgrens  and  two  32-pounder  Brooke  rifles. 

The  iron-clad  approached  completion  early  in  March  and  was 
:hristened  Virginia,  but  the  name  she  had  borne  in  the  old  navy 
ituck  to  her,  probably  on  account  of  its  alliterative  affinity  with 
Monitor,  and  as  the  Merrimac  she  will  ever  be  known.  On  the  8th 
)f  March  she  got  under  way  from  the  Norfolk  navy  yard  and  pro- 
:eeded  down  the  Elizabeth  River  accompanied  by  the  gunboats 
Beaufort  and  Raleigh,  mounting  one  gun  each.  Her  crew  of  about 
hree   hundred  men  was  composed  mostly  of  volunteers  from  the 


troops  about  Richmond,  and  because  of  the  crowds  of  workmen 
board  until  the  last  minute  had  not  been  exercised  at  their  stati( 
The  engines,  which  had  been  a  nightmare  to  the  engineers  of  the 
navy,  had  been  thoroughly  overhauled  under  the  direction  of  C 
Engineer  Williamson,  but,  with  a  raw  force  to  manage  them,  wer 
object  of  apprehension  rather  than  a  reliable  source  of  power. 
Union  force  in  and  about  Hampton  Roads  consisted  of  the  large 
gun  firigates.'ifocmo&e  and  Minnesota,  sister  ships  of  the  original  1 
rimac,  some  small  armed  tugs,  the  50-gun  sailing  frigates  Com 
and  St.  Lawrence,  and  the  24-gun  sloop-of-war  Cumberland. 
two  steam  frigates  have  been  described  in  a  former  chapter, 
were  regarded  as  the  climax  of  all  excellence  in  war-ship  const 
tion,  "yet,"  as  remarked  by  Professor  Soley,  "it  required  but 
experience  of  a  single  afternoon  in  Hampton  Roads,  in  the  mont 
March,  1862,  to  show  that  they  were  antiquated,  displaced,  su 
seded,  and  that  a  new  era  had  opened  in  naval  warfare." 

' '  The  Congress  and  Cumberland  had  been  lying  off  New 
News  for  several  months.  Their  ostensible  duty  was  to  blocl 
the  James  River;  but  it  is  not  very  clear  how  a  sailing-vesse 
anchor  could  be  of  any  use  for  this  purpose.  Most  of  the  old  sai 
vessels  of  the  navy  had  by  this  time  been  relegated  to  their  pr 
place  as  school-ships,  store-ships,  and  receiving-ships,  or  had  1 
sent  to  foreign  stations  where  their  only  duty  was  to  display 
flag.  Nothing  shows  more  clearly  the  persistence  of  old  tradil 
than  the  presence  of  these  helpless  vessels  in  so  dangerous  a  ne 
borhood.  Although  the  ships  themselves  were  of  no  value  for  i 
crn  warfare,  their  armament  could  ill  be  spared ;  and  they  carriec 
tween  them  over  eight  hundred  officers  and  men.  whose  lives  1 
exposed  to  fruitless  sacrifice. ' ' 1 

The  Merrimac  emerged  from  the  river  about  1  p.  m  and  tu 
down  towards  Newport  News  where  the  Congress  and  Cumber 
lay  at  anchor,  already  cleared  for  action.  Three  Confederate 
boats,  the  Jamestown,  Teazer  and  Patrick  Henry  (or  Yorktown), 
afterwards  came  out  of  the  James  River  past  the  Federal  batt 
at  Newport  News  and  took  part  in  the  ensuing  engagement,  rei 
ing  much  aid  to   the  Merrimac.     The   story  of  what  happened 

'  Professor  J.  R.  Soley:  The  Blockade  ahd  the  Cruisers,  page  61,  chapte 


afternoon  has  been  told  so  often  that  no  detailed  account  of  it  will  be 
repeated  here.  As  the  ram  approached  the  sailing  vessels  she  was 
furiously  pounded  by  their  broadside  fire,  but  her  sloping  armor 
glanced  the  shot  off  like  peas;  passing  the  Congress,  she  deliberately 
rammed  the  Cumberland  in  the  wake  of  the  starboard  forechains, 
tearing  a  great  hole  in  her  side,  in  which  the  cast-iron  beak  re- 
mained, it  having  been  wrenched  off  in  impact,  Before  reaching  the 
Cumberland  a  broadside  from  that  vessel  put  one  or  two  shells  into 
the  forward  gun  port  of  the  Merrimac,  killing  two  and  wounding  five 
men,1  but  doing  no  serious  damage  to  the  ship  itself.  The  first 
lieutenant  of  the  Cumberland,  Lieutenant  George  Upham  Morris, 
who  was  in  command  in  the  absence  of  his  captain,  gallantly  refused 
to  surrender  and  fought  his  ship  with  a  heroism  not  excelled  in  naval 
history,  but  in  vain,  for  she  sank  in  three-quarters  of  an  hour,  carry- 
ing down  the  wounded  and  many  of  the  crew.  The  Congress,  next 
assailed,  was  run  on  shore  in  hope  of  saving  her,  but  the  enemy  got 
into  easy  range  astern  and  tore  her  through  and  through  with  shot 
and  shell,  butchering  her  people  without  mercy.  Unable  to  make 
any  resistance,  she  surrendered,  but  the  army  force  on  shore,  not  un- 
derstanding the  situation,  fired  on  the  Confederate  gunboats  that  had 
gone  alongside  to  remove  the  prisoners,  and  drove  them  off.  The 
Merrimac  then  set  her  on  fire  with  incendiary  shot,  the  survivors  of 
the  crew  escaping  to  the  shore  in  their  boats  or  by  swimming.  The 
Congress  burned  until  far  into  the  night,  when  she  blew  up. 

Meanwhile  the  Minnesota  had  got  under  way  from  Hampton 
Roads  and  approached  the  scene  of  action,  but  ran  aground  when 
still  more  than  a  mile  distant;  she  was  fortunately  in  such  a  position 
with  regard  to  the  deep-water  channel  that  the  Merrimac  could  not 
get  within  effective  range  of  her,  but  the  gunboats  Yorktown  and 
Teazer  took  comparatively  safe  positions  off  her  bow  and  stern  and 
did  her  much  damage,  besides  killing  three  and  wounding  sixteen  of 
her  men.  The  Roanoke  was  unable  to  move  under  steam,  having 
broken  her  shaft  some  months  previously,  and  consequently  had  no 
more  business  in  the  presence  of  the  enemy  than  had  the  sailing  fri- 
gates.    However,  her  gallant  captain,  John  Marsden,   as  well  as 

'  William  Norris,  a  member  of  the  Merrimac' s  crew;  in  Southern  Magazine 
November,  1874. 


Captain  Purviance  of  the  St.  Lawrence,  felt  it  to  be  duty  to  be  in  i 
tion,  even  in  a  forlorn  hope,  and  they  made  desperate  efforts  to  mc 
their  vessels  from  Hampton  Roads  with  the  aid  of  armed  tugs,  cal 
gunboats,  to  the  scene  of  action.  The  approach  of  night  and  the  falli 
of  the  tide  defeated  the  brave  endeavors  of  these  two  captains,  a 
their  ships  consequently  did  not  become  a  prey  to  the  invulnera' 
monster  they  hoped  to  destroy. 

About  7  p.  m.  the  Merrimac  withdrew  from  action  and  ancho] 
off  Sewall's  Point,  intending  to  complete  her  work  of  destruction 
the  morning.     Her  captain,  Franklin  Buchanan,  had  been  wounc 
by  a  rifle  ball  from  shore;  the  muzzles  of  two  of  her  guns  had  bf 
knocked  off,  and  her  steaming  ability,  bad  at  best,  had  been  consid 
ably  weakened  by  the  loss  of  the  smoke  pipe  above  the  casema 
otherwise  she  was  entirely  fit  for  action.     Her  people  were  jubili 
over  their  success,  and  well  they  might  be,  for  besides  winning  a  s< 
fight  against  great  numerical  odds  they  had  proved  their  vessel  to 
absolutely  in  control  of  the  situation  with  no  apparent  limit  to  i 
range  of  her  conquests.     Her  performance  that  afternoon  had  b( 
exactly  what  we  have  a  right  to  believe  would  have  resulted  had 
Demologos,  nearly  fifty  years  before,  been  completed  in  time  to  i 
counter  a  fleet  of  British  frigates.     The  sound  of  the  Merrimac1  s  gi 
had  rung  the  curtain  down  forever  upon  the  most  picturesque  and 
mantic  mode  of  sea  fighting  that  the  world  has  ever  known:  then 
forth  the  march  of  iron  and  the  engineer  would  have  to  be  recogni: 
as  all-important  in  naval  warfare,  and  the  picturesque  must  yield 
fore  a  homely  materialism. 

Besides  the  loss  of  the  Congress  and  Cumberland,  the  Fedc 
navy  suffered  severely  in  men.  The  official  reports  show  that 
Congress  lost  in  killed,  wounded  and  missing  one  hundred  and  thii 
six  men,  or  nearly  one-third  of  her  entire  crew.  Among  her  d< 
was  her  gallant  commanding  officer,  Lieutenant  Joseph  B.  Smi 
The  Cumberland  lost  one  hundred  and  twenty-one,  also  about  o 
third  of  her  crew,  which  numbered  three  hundred  and  seventy-six 
ficers  and  men  when  the  action  began.  The  Minnesota's  casualit: 
previously  mentioned,  were  nineteen.  On  the  gunboat  White) 
Third  Assistant  Engineer  Andrew  Nesbitt  was  instantly  killed  b 
fragment  of  shell  from  the  Merrimac,  and  another  assistant  enghi 
was  wounded  in  the  face  in  the  same  manner.     Two  of  her  men^ 


killed.  The  Whitehall  was  a  small  New  York  ferryboat  of  323  tons, 
purchased  and  armed  in  1861,  and  has  been  mentioned  before  in  this 
chapter  as  having  been  disabled  in  the  Burnside  Expedition.  Her 
career  ended  the  following  night,  March  9,  by  destruction  by  fire 
while  lying  at  the  wharf  at  Fortress  Munroe,  the  chief  loss  involved 
being  the  breeching,  tackles,  and  other  gun  gear  of  the  Minnesota, 
together  with  a  quantity  of  small  arms  and  equipment,  put  on  board 
her  for  safe  keeping  the  night  of  the  8th  when  the  destruction  of  the 
Minnesota  seemed  imminent.  All  the  casualities  due  to  the  raid  of 
the  Merrimac,  as  above  enumerated,  amount  to  a  total  of  two  hundred 
and  eighty.  The  Confederate  loss,  including  casualities  on  their  gun- 
boats, was  not  more  than  one  tenth  of  this  figure. 

Ericsson's  Monitor  was  launched  January  30,  1862,  and  by  the 
middle  of  February  was  practically  completed,  going  on  a  trial  trip 
the  19th  of  that  month.  On  this  occasion  the  main  engines,  the 
steering  gear,  the  turret  turning  mechanism,  almost  everything  in 
fact,  went  wrong  or  refused  to  work;  natural  results  of  the  lack  of 
adjustment  due  to  hasty  construction,  and  needing  only  this  trial  to 
show  what  remedies  were  required.  The  newspapers  that  had  in- 
dulged in  endless  jeremiads  over  "  Ericsson's  Folly  "  now  redoubled 
their  attacks  and  added  greatly  to  the  public  mistrust  of  the  vessel, 
but  Ericsson  himself  and  Chief  Engineer  Stimers  maintained  their 
faith  unmoved  and,  ignoring  the  opportunities  for  controversy,  pa- 
tiently set  to  work  to  remedy  the  defects.  February  25,  the  Monitor 
was  put  in  commission  under  the  command  of  Lieutenant  John  L. 
Worden,  U.  S.  Navy,  and  on  the  4th  of  March  a  final  and  successful 
trial  trip  was  run,  the  guns  being  satisfactorily  tried  at  this  time  and 
a  favorable  report  regarding  the  vessel  was  made  by  a  board  of  naval 
officers.  On  these  trials  and  while  adjusting  the  machinery  Mr.  Sti- 
mers made  it  his  business  to  operate  personally  every  piece  of  mechan- 
ism in  the  ship  and  to  become  thoroughly  familiar  with  and  master 
of  every  detail  of  every  department,  thus  gaining  knowledge  without 
which  the  performance  of  the  Monitor  immediately  thereafter  would 
have  been  impossible  and  the  events  of  the  Civil  War  materially 

Escaping  finally  from  the  onslaughts  of  the  press,  the  Monitor 
faced  a  new  foe  by  putting  to  sea  on  the  6th  of  March,  being  con- 
voyed by  the  gunboats  Sachem  and  Currituck  and  in  tow  of  the  steamer 


Seth  Low,  although  she  used  her  own  steam  as  well.  Two  hours  af 
her  departure  a  telegraphic  order  arrived  for  her  to  proceed  direct 
Washington  and  this  order  was  repeated  to  Captain  Marsden  at  Han 
ton  Roads.  The  failure  of  Worden  to  receive  this  order  before  le 
ing  New  York  is  referred  to  by  naval  historians  as  little  less  tl 
providential,  and  so  it  seems  in  view  of  the  ensuing  events;  at  i 
rate  the  circumstance  adds  one  more  to  the  list  of  almost  miracul< 
chances  that  united  in  making  the  Monitor  possible  and  in  shap 
her  career.  The  officers  who  went  in  her  as  volunteers  for  the  m< 
than  hazardous  experiment  of  taking  her  to  sea  were,  besides  Wore 
the  commander,  Lieutenant  Samuel  Dana  Greene;  Acting  .Mast 
John  J.  N.  Webber  and  Louis  N.  Stodder ;  Acting  Assistant  Paymas 
W.  F.  Keeler;  Acting  Assistant  Surgeon  Daniel  C.  Logue;  First  i 
sistant  Engineer  Isaac  Newton;  Second  Assistant  Engineer  Albert 
Campbell,  and  Third  Assistant  Engineers  R.  W.  Hands  and  M. 
Sundstrum.  The  commander,  executive  officer,  and  all  the  engine 
were  of  the  regular  service  and  the  other  officers  volunteers.  1 
crew  consisted  of  forty -three  men  who  had  volunteered  from  the 
ceiving-ship  North  Carolina  and  the  sailing  frigate  Sabine.  Ch 
Engineer  Stimers  voluntarily  went  as  a  passenger  to  observe  the  wo: 
ing  of  the  novel  craft  and  to  give  her  officers  the  benefit  of  his  kne 
ledge,  he  being,  as  stated  by  W.  C.  Church  in  his  Life  of  Jo 
Ericsson,  ' '  The  only  man  on  board  who  thoroughly  understood  1 
characteristics  of  the  vessel. ' ' 

Mr.  Isaac  Newton,  the  acting  chief  engineer  of  the  Monitor,  v 
a  genius  in  his  way  who  deserves  more  than  passing  mention.  I 
father,  also  named  Isaac  Newton,  was  a  prominent  North  Br 
steamboat  builder  and  owner,  and  young  Newton,  besides  getting 
excellent  education  in  the  New  York  city  schools,  had  grown  up 
his  father's  steamers  and  shops,  so  that  by  the  time  he  reached  in* 
hood  he  was  a  thorough  steamboat  captain,  pilot,  engineer,  b< 
builder,  machinist,  and  all-around  mechanic.  In  June  1S61, 
volunteered  for  the  war  and  selected  the  engineer  corps  of  the  na 
for  his  place  of  best  service,  coming  into  the  navy  with  letters 
commendation  from  a  number  of  the  most  prominent  men  in  N 
York.  His  education  enabled  him  to  overstep  the  nominal  requi 
ments  for  the  volunteer  service,  and  by  passing  the  required  exai 
nations  he  obtained  an  appointment  as  a  first  assistant  engineer  in  1 


regular  service.  If  his  experience  could  have  been  augmented  with 
the  four  or  five  years  of  military  training  so  essential  to  service  in  the 
regular  navy  he  would  have  been  an  ideal  naval  officer  for  a  war- 
steamer:  as  it  was,  he  won  a  fine  reputation  for  ability  as  an  engineer 
and  for  general  usefulness.  He  resigned  at  the  close  of  the  war  and 
associated  himself  with  John  Ericsson  in  his  disastrous  Madawaska- 
Wampanoag  controversy  with  Engineer-in-Chief  Isherwood;  was  later 
General  McClellan's  associate  in  the  work  of  rebuilding  the  Stevens 
battery,  and  again,  having  embarked  in  politics,  held  the  very  im- 
portant position  of  chief  engineer  of  the  Croton  Aqueduct  in  the  Pub- 
lic Works  Department  of  the  City  of  New  York. 

The  first  twenty-four  hours  of  the  voyage  of  the  Monitor  from 
Sandy  Hook  were  uneventful,  light  winds  and  smooth  water  being 
encountered.  The  wind  and  sea  then  rose  and  the  vessel  was  soon 
in  great  peril.  Great  quantities  of  water  came  in  through  the  hawse 
pipes,  due  to  "gross  carelessness  in  going  to  sea  without  stopping 
them  up,"  as  claimed  by  Ericsson  in  a  paper  on  the  "Building  of 
the  Monitor, ' '  in  Battles  and  Leaders  of  the  Civil  War.  The  turret 
was  designed  to  slide  on  a  bronze  ring  let  into  the  deck  at  its  base, 
this  joint  not  being  water  tight  nor  intended  to  be,  pumps  being 
provided  to  remove  the  small  quantity  of  water  that  would  come  in 
through  this  necessary  crack.  Before  leaving  New  York,  however, 
some  "expert"  at  the  navy  yard,  accustomed  to  the  manifold  uses 
of  rope  on  shipboard,  had  caused  the  turret  to  be  wedged  up  and 
had  driven  into  the  wide  opening  thus  formed  a  plaited  hemp  gas- 
ket, the  result  being  that  when  the  sea  began  to  break  violently  over 
the  deck  this  gasket  was  washed  out  and  water  poured  in  cascades 
down  the  whole  annular  space  sixty-three  feet  in  circumference.  The 
smoke  pipes  and  blower  supply  pipes,  were  simply  temporary  trunks 
intended  to  be  removed  in  action,  projecting  only  about  six  feet 
above  the  deck,  over  which  the  seas  broke  and  interrupted  the  action 
of  the  furnaces  very  seriously. 

From  getting  wet,  the  belts  of  the  blowers  would  not  cling  and 
the  engine  and  fire-rooms  soon  became  charged  with  poisonous  gases 
to  such  an  extent  that  life  below  became  almost  impossible.  Messrs. 
Newton  and  Stimers,  with  the  help  of  their  assistants,  struggled 
bravely  to  get  the  blowers  in  operation  and  kept  at  this  task  until 
they  succumbed  to  the  gas  and  were  carried  to  the  top  of  the  turret, 


where  they  revived,  though  they  were  thought  dead  when  dragg 
out  of  the  engine  room.  Lieutenant  Greene,  the  executive  officer, 
few  days  latter  gave  an  account  of  the  Monitor'- 's  experience  in  a  letl 
written  to  his  mother,  which  is  regarded  as  the  most  graphic  nan 
tive  of  the  event  in  existence,  and  which  has  been  twice  published 
the  United  Service  Magazine  (In  April,  1885  and  October,  189! 
in  which  he  speaks  of  this  incident  as  follows:  "  Our  engineers  \ 
haved  like  heroes,  every  one  of  them.  They  fought  with  the  gi 
endeavoring  to  get  the  blowers  to  work,  until  they  dropped  appi 
ently  dead. ' '  In  the  meantime  the  fires  had  become  so  low  from  wai 
and  loss  of  air  that  the  pumps  stopped  and  loss  by  foundering  becai 
imminent.  The  tug  was  directed  to  steer  shoreward  and  after  fc 
or  five  hours  of  constant  peril  smoother  water  was  reached,  t 
machinery  started  again,  water  pumped  out,  and  danger  for  the  til 
averted.  It  was  then  evening  of  the  7th,  and  for  a  time  safe  pi 
gress  was  made,  but  soon  after  midnight  danger  once  more  appear 
as  thus  described  by  Lieutenant  Greene  in  the  letter  to  his  mother 

"  We  were  just  passing  a  shoal,  and  the  sea  suddenly  becai 
rough  and  right  ahead.  It  came  up  with  tremendous  force  through  c 
anchor-well,  and  forced  the  air  through  our  hawse-pipe  where  t 
chain  comes,  and  then  the  water  would  rush  through  in  a  perft 
stream,  clear  to  our  berth  deck,  over  the  wardroom  table.  T 
noise  resembled  the  death-groans  of  twenty  men,  and  was  the  mi 
dismal,  awful  sound  I  have  ever  heard.  Of  course  the  captain  a 
myself  were  on  our  feet  in  a  moment,  and  endeavored  to  stop  1 
hawse-pipe.  We  suceeded  partially,  but  now  the  water  began 
come  down  our  blowers  again,  and  we  feared  the  same  accident  t] 
happened  in  the  afternoon.  We  tried  to  hail  the  tug-boat,  but  1 
wind  being  dead  ahead  they  could  not  hear  us,  and  we  had  no  v. 
of  signaling  them,  as  the  steam- whistle  which  father  had  recommenc 
had  not  been  put  on. 

"We  began  then  to  think  the  '  Monitor  '  would  never  see  di 
light.  We  watched  carefully  every  drop  of  water  that  went  do 
the  blowers,  and  sent  continually  to  ask  the  fireman  how  they  w< 
going.  His  only  answer  was  '  Slowly,'  but  could  not  be  kept  goi 
much  longer' unless  the  water  could  be  kept  from  coming  do-v 
The  sea  was  washing  completely  over  the  decks,  and  it  was  dang 


ous  for  a  man  to  go  on  them,  so  we  could  do  nothing  to  the  blowers. 
In  the  midst  of  all  this  our  wheel-ropes  jumped  off  the  steering 
wheel  (owing  to  the  pitching  of  the  ship),  and  became  jammed.  She 
now  began  to  sheer  about  at  an  awful  rate,  and  we  thought  our  haw- 
ser would  certainly  part.  Fortunately  it  was  new,  and  held  on  well. 
In  the  course  of  half  an  hour  we  freed  our  wheel-ropes,  and  now  the 
blowers  were  the  only  difficulty.  About  three  o'clock  Saturday  A. 
M.  the  sea  became  a  little  smoother,  though  still  rough,  and  going 
down  our  blowers  somewhat." 

By  8  o'clock  the  next  morning  smooth  water  was  again  found 
and  the  Monitor  slowly  and  wearily  pursued  her  voyage,  entering  the 
Capes  of  the  Chesapeake  about  4  p.  m.  Here  they  heard  the  sound 
of  shotted  guns,  for  the  Merrimac  was  at  that  moment  in  the  midst 
of  her  carnival  of  destruction,  and  the  worn-out  crew  infused  with 
new  life  cleared  their  novel  and  untried  craft  for  action.  A  pilot- 
boat  coming  out  told  them  of  what  was  going  on  at  Newport  News 
but  the  tale  of  big  frigates  being  helpless  in  the  presence  of  any 
known  form  of  enemy  was  so  improbable  that  it  was  not  believed 
until  night  came  on  and  the  .pitiful  spectacle  of  the  doomed  Congress 
loomed  up  in  lines  of  fire  against  the  dark  sky.  About  9  p.  m.  the 
Monitor  anchored  in  Hampton  Roads  and  Worden  reported  in  person 
to  Captain  Marsden  on  the  Hoanoke. 

In  view  of  the  events  of  the  day  it  was  decided  without  hesita- 
tion to  disregard  the  order  of  the  Department  to  send  the  Monitor 
direct  to  Washington,  the  occasion  for  which  she  was  built  being 
nearer  at  hand.  The  programme  of  the  enemy  for  the  morning  so 
obviously  would  begin  with  an  attack  upon  the  grounded  Minnesota 
that  Worden  was  ordered  to  go  up  to  Newport  News  to  protect  that 
vessel  if  he  could,  so  the  Monitor  got  under  way  again  and  about  2 
a.  m.  came  to  anchor  near  the  distressed  frigate,  her  wearied  crew 
spending  the  rest  of  the  night  in  repairing  damages  wrought  by  the 
sea  and  in  making  ready  for  the  struggle  that  they  knew  would  come 
with  the  morning. 

The  stage  settings  were  now  complete;  the  curtain  had  fallen 
just  before  upon  the  last  of  a  long  series  of  glorious  deeds  performed 
under  a  slowly-fading  system  of  seamanship  that  had  many  years  be- 
fore reached  its  culmination,  and  a  new  order  of  seamanship  with  a 
new  type  of  sea  warrior  was  about  to  appear  upon  the  stage.     The 


engineer's  machine  of  John  Ericsson  was  to  face  the  fabric  that  rej 
resented  the  engineering  ingenuity  of  the  South,  and  the  telegraph] 
tidings  of  their  encounter  would  inflict  an  inconsolable  fright  upo 
the  old  romance  of  the  sea,  and  in  an  hour  reduce  the  masted  navie 
of  the  world  to  mere  collections  of  picturesque  and  useless  relics. 


' '  The  old  must  fall,  and  time  itself  must  change, 
And  thus  new  life  shall  blossom  from  the  ruins." 


1862— The  Civil  War,  Continued— First  Fight  of  Iron-Clads— Effects  of  the 
Battle — Extraordinary  Services  Eendered  by  Chief  Engineer  Stimers — 
Attack  on  Drury's  Bluff— The  Galena  Badly  Injured — Gallantry  of  As- 
sistant Engineer  J.  W.  Thomson. 

THE  morning  of  Sunday,  March  9,  dawned  upon  a  peaceful  scene 
in  Hampton  Roads.  The  Roanoke  and  St.  Lawrence  were  lying 
at  anchor  near  Fortress  Monroe;  the  Minnesota,  still  aground  off  New- 
port News,  overshadowed  with  her  great  hull  the  Monitor  lying  beside 
her,  and  off  Sewall's  Point,  black  and  ominously  still,  was  the  Mer- 
rimac. The  topmasts  of  the  Cumberland  sticking  out  of  the  water  and 
blackened  wreckage  about  the  spot  where  the  Congress  burned  were 
the  only  signs  that  anything  unusual  had  happened  or  was  likely 
to  happen.  Soon  after  daylight,  volumes  of  black  smoke  appeared 
over  the  Merrimac,  rising  and  spreading  in  the  quiet  morning  air  into 
a  cloud  that  must  have  seemed  a  veritable  embodiment  of  the  Shadow 
of  Death  to  the  men  in  the  Federal  ships. 

About  8  a.  m.  the  Merrimac  got  under  way  and  proceeded  slowly 
up  towards  the  Eip  Eaps  in  order  to  swing  into  the  channel  whence 
she  could  assail  the  Minnesota.  Captain  Buchanan's  wound  of  the  day 
before  had  proved  so  serious  that  he  had  been  obliged  to  give  up  his 
command  to  the  first  lieutenant,  Catesby  Ap  E.  Jones,  who  was  now 
taking  the  ship  into  action.  Lieutenant  Jones,  upon  whom  the  re- 
sponsibility for  the  day's  work  rested,  was  about  forty  years  of  age 
and  was  a  thoroughly  trained  naval  officer,  having  seen  twenty-five 
years'  service  in  the  old  navy  in  the  grades  from  midshipman  to  lieu- 
tenant. One  cannot  resist  the  temptation  to  pause  a  moment  and 
speculate  upon  the  possibilities  that  must  have  arisen  before  the  men- 
tal vision  of  this  young  and  ambitious  officer  as  he  moved  his  destroy- 
ing machine  slowly  up  to  the  place  for  action.  The  events  of  the  day 
before  left  no  doubt  as  to  the  outcome  of  the  combat  he  was  about  to 


precipitate,  and  looking  beyond  his  actual  surroundings  his  mind 
eye  saw  the  cities  of  the  North  laid  under  ransom  by  his  guns;  tl 
national  capitol  abandoned;  the  sovereignty  of  the  South  acknow 
edged;  the  war  ended,  and  himself  its  central  naval  figure:  hewou] 
be  the  admiral  of  the  Southern  navy;  perhaps  the  president  of  the  ne 
nation  of  the  South.  It  was  indeed  an  hour  of  vast  possibilities  f( 

Turning  leisurely  down  the  main  ship-channel  the  Merrimc 
headed  for  the  Minnesota  and  opened  fire  when  still  a  mile  distan' 
the  first  shot  striking  the  counter  near  the  water  line  but  doing  no  s« 
rious  damage.  Whatever  dreams  of  conquest  Lieutenant  Jones  ma 
have  indulged  in  earlier  in  the  morning  he  was  now  giving  all  his  al 
tention  to  the  material  scene  about  him,  and  as  he  looked  away  t 
where  the  Minnesota  lay  stranded  to  see  the  effect  of  his  shot,  his  ey 
fell  on  an  unfamiliar  object.  The  Monitor  had  moved  out  from  be 
hind  the  big  frigate  and  was  coming  unflinchingly  across  the  stretc 
of  water  to  meet  him.  This  movement  of  the  Monitor  excited  the  ad 
miration  of  Captain  Van  Brunt  of  the  Minnesota,  who  said  in  his  offi 
cial  report  that  she  ran  "  right  within  range  of  the  Merrimac  com 
pletely  covering  my  ship  as  far  as  was  possible  with  her  diminutiv 
dimensions,  and  much  to  my  astonishment  laid  herself  right  along 
side  of  the  Merrimac,  and  the  contrast  was  that  of  a  pigmy  to  a  giant. ' 

On  board  the  Monitor  every  preparation  for  battle  had  bee: 
made,  but  the  officers  and  men  were  kept  up  by  nervous  excitemer 
rather  than  by  physical  strength;  almost  without  exception  they  ha 
been  without  sleep  for  more  than  forty-eight  hours,  and  on  account  c 
lack  of  facilities  for  cooking  had  had  no  proper  food  to  sustain  them 
Worden  had  left  a  sick  bed  to  go  on  board  at  New  York  and  had  sui 
fered  much  on  the  voyage  down.  Newton,  who  had  been  at  thepoir 
of  death  when  dragged  out  of  the  engine-room  on  the  occasion  of  th 
stoppage  of  the  blowers,  was  confined  to  his  bed  and  reported  as  be 
ing  unable  to  do  duty  for  at  least  a  week;  when  the  call  to  arms  sounded 
however,  he  got  up  and  performed  his  part  in  the  fight  courageousl 
and  well.  There  was  scarcely  a  man  in  the  ship  who  would  not  hav 
been  in  a  condition  of  physical  prostration  had  it  not  been  for  the  ex 
citement  due  to  the  presence  of  the  enemy. 

Worden  took  his  station  in  the  pilot  house,  Greene  with  sixteen  me 
in  charge  of  the  guns  in  the  turret,  Stodder  at  the  turret  turning  gea 



and  "Webber  had  the  small  powder  division  on  the  berth  deck.  Stodder 
was  disabled  early  in  the  action  by  the  concussion  of  a  shot  striking  the 
turret  when  he  was  touching  it  and  Stimers  took  his  place,  he  having 
volunteered  at  the  beginning  of  the  fight  to  go  in  the  turret  and  show 
the  people  how  to  operate  it.  The  pilot  house,built  log  cabin  fashion  of 
iron  beams  or  billets, 9  inches  by  12  inches, with  the  corners  dovetailed 
and  bolted  together,  was  far  forward  on  deck  with  no  means  of  com- 
,  municating  with  the  turret  except  by  a  speaking  tube;  this  became 
disconnected  soon  after  the  fight  began  and  communication  between 
Worden  and  Greene  then  had  to  be  maintained  by  passing  the  word 
along  the  berth  deck,  Paymaster  Keeler  and  the  captain's  clerk  doing 
this  important  service.  The  great  error  of  separating  the  captain 
from  the  battery  was  remedied  in  the  later  monitors  by  simply  plac- 
ing the  pilot-house  on  top  of  the  turret,  engineer  Isaac  Newton  hav- 
ing suggested  this  arrangement  immediately  after  the  fight.  As  an 
offset  to  the  wearied  condition  of  the  Monitor's  men,  the  Merrimac 
was  far  from  being  in  perfect  fighting  trim.  Two  of  her  guns  were 
disabled  by  the  loss  of  their  muzzles,  her  ram  had  been  wrenched  off, 
and  the  upper  part  of  the  smoke-pipe  was  shot  away.  This  last  was 
her  greatest  injury  for  it  so  impaired  the  furnace  draft  that  steam 
could  not  be  maintained  at  anything  like  a  proper  working  pressure, 
and  her  motions  were  consequently  extremely  sluggish.  Speed  is  a 
word  hardly  applicable  to  either  the  Monitor  or  Merrimac,  but  by  rea- 
son of  the  damage  to  the  latter  the  great  advantage  of  quicker  move- 
ment rested  with  the  Monitor. 

The  first  shot  fired  at  the  Monitor  missed  her  and  the  Confeder- 
ates realized  that  they  no  longer  had  the  big  hull  of  a  frigate  for  a 
target.  Further  enlightenment  regarding  the  altered  status  of  their 
antagonists  came  quickly  in  the  furious  impact  of  the  heavy  Xl-inch 
solid  shot  of  the  Monitor  against  their  casemate,  knocking  men  down 
and  leaving  them  dazed  and  bleeding  at  the  nose,  ears  and  mouth. 
It  will  be  needless  to  repeat  the  circumstantial  account  of  the  com- 
bat, which  has  been  told  so  carefully  by  so  many  writers.  Neither 
vessel  could  penetrate  the  armor  of  the  other,  which  prevented  the 
question  of  their  supremacy  being  definitely  settled  and  left  it  open 
to  dispute  ever  since.  Each  at  different  stages  of  the  fight  tried  ram- 
ming, the  Monitor  with  the  most  success  as  she  struck  her  enemy 
fairly  enough  near  the  stem,  having  aimed  to  injure  the  propeller, 


but  on  account  of  the  smoke  and  other  obstacles  to  exact  steerinj 
missed  the  vital  spot  by  about  three  feet  only.  The  Merrimac's  at 
tempt  resulted  in  a  harmless  glancing  blow,  the  superior  speed  of  th 
Monitor  making  it  an  easy  matter  to  elude  her  antagonist. 

After  about  an  hour  of  fighting,  the  Merrimac  tried  to  give  the  Monito 
up  as  a  bad  task  and  turned  her  attention  again  to  the  Minnesota,  tin 
first  shell  fired  at  the  frigate  passing  "  through  the  chief  engineer 'i 
state-room,  through  the  engineers'  mess-room,  amidships,  and  burs 
in  the  boatswain's  room,  tearing  four  rooms  into  one  in  its  passage 
and  exploding  two  charges  of  powder,  which  set  the  ship  on  fire."  : 
The  second  shell  exploded  the  boiler  of  tug-boat  Dragon  lying  along 
side  the  Minnesota,  and  by  the  time  the  third  shell  was  thrown  th 
Monitor,  not  disposed  to  be  ignored,  had  again  interposed  betweei 
the  Minnesota  and  her  assailant  and  thereafter  she  engrossed  the  en 
tire  attention  of  the  enemy.  Shortly  after  this  diversion  the  ammu 
nition  in  the  Monitor' 's  turret  became  exhausted  and  she  had  to  go  oui 
of  action  to  replenish  it,  the  scuttle  by  which  it  was  passed  being  im- 
possible to  use  except  when  the  turret  was  stationary  and  in  a  certair 
position.  This  circumstance  greatly  encouraged  the  Confederates 
who  believed  their  opponent  to  be  disabled  from  their  fire,  but  in  i 
quarter  of  an  hour  their  hopes  were  dispelled  by  the  Monitor  resum- 
ing the  fight  more  vigorously  than  ever. 

Soon  after  11  a.  m.  Lieutenant  Worden,  while  looking  througl 
a  sight-hole  in  the  pilot-house,  was  disabled  by  a  shell  striking  and 
exploding  immediately  in  front  of  his  eyes,  he  being  temporarily 
blinded  and  his  face  terribly  burned  and  cut  by  the  flying  grains  oi 
powder  and  bits  of  iron.  The  steersman  was  stunned  for  a  fe-w 
minutes  by  the  concussion  also  and  in  that  short  space  of  time  the 
Monitor  without  anyone  in  control  of  her  ran  off  aimlessly  towards 
shoal  water  away  from  the  fight,  for  no  one  had  signalled  the 
engine-room  to  stop.  This  gave  such  an  appearance  of  defeat  thai 
on  the  Minnesota  all  hope  was  abandoned  and  every  preparatior 
made  for  setting  the  ship  on  fire  and  abandoning  her.  In  a  shorl 
time,  however,  Lieutenant  Greene  learned  of  the  casualty  in  the 
pilot-house  and,  leaving  Stimers  in  charge  of  the  guns,  took  com- 
mand of  the  ship  and  turned  upon  his  foe  again.     Then  to  the 

1  Official  report  of  Captain  Van  Brunt  of  the  Minnesota. 


amazement  of  all  the  Merrimac  suddenly  gave  up  the  fight  and 
steamed  away  toward  Norfolk.  Oatesby  Jones  reported  afterward 
as  a  reason  for  withdrawing  at  this  time  that  he  believed  the  Monitor 
disabled  and  he  was  very  desirous  of  crossing  the  Elizabeth  River 
bar  before  ebb  tide.  There  was  no  reason  for  believing  the  Monitor 
out  of  action  and  every  reason  for  believing  the  contrary,  for  when 
she  returned  under  the  command  of  Greene,  Stimers  fired  two  or 
three  shots  against  the  Merrimac,  which  were  the  last  guns  of  the 
encounter.  Had  the  Confederates  believed  in  their  success  to  the 
extent  of  demanding  the  surrender  of  the  Monitor,  Greene  could 
and  very  probably  would  have  replied  in  the  words  used  long  before 
by  John  Paul  Jones  under  similar  circumstances — "We  have  not 
yet  begun  to  fight. ' ' 

Lieutenant  Greene  did  not  follow  the  retreating  enemy,  the 
orders  under  which  the  Monitor  fought  limiting  her  action  to  a  de- 
fense of  the  Federal  ships,  the  Minnesota  especially.  Greene  was 
very  young  at  the  time  and  inexperienced  in  judging  of  the  amount 
of  discretion  allowed  a  commanding  officer  in  obeying  orders  in 
battle,  so  it  was  with  many  misgivings  that  he  allowed  the  Merri- 
mac to  go  unmolested  while  he  returned  to  the  side  of  the  Minne- 
sota, but  the  superior  officers  of  both  army  and  navy  present 
sustained  his  action  and  assured  him  that  he  had  done  exactly  the 
right  thing.  Curious  as  it  appears,  many  able  writers  have  in- 
dulged in  much  argument  to  prove  which  of  the  two  iron-clads  won 
the  fight.  The  Merrimac  won  a  most  decided  victory  in  her  attack 
upon  the  wooden  sailing  vessels  the  first  day  of  her  appearance, 
but  when  all  argument  regarding  the  second  day's  fight  is  ex- 
hausted a  few  very  pertinent  facts  remain  undisturbed.  When  the 
Merrimac  got  up  steam  in  the  morning  it  was  obviously  for  no  other 
purpose  than  to  destroy  the  Federal  vessels  in  Hampton  Roads,  and 
she  did  not  destroy  anything.  When  the  day  was  done  she  was 
not  even  in  Hampton  Roads  herself.  The  Monitor  was  ordered  to 
protect  the  wooden  ships,  and  she  protected  them.  When  night 
came  she  was  still  on  guard  over  them,  grim,  ugly,  and  ready  to 

The  Monitor  was  struck  twenty-one  times  in  the  action  and 
fired  forty-one  Xl-inch  solid  shot.  The  most  damaging  blow  she 
received  was  from  the  shell  which   disabled   Worden,   this  having 


cracked  one  of  the  heavy  iron  logs  of  the  pilot-house  entir 
through  and  forced  the  fractured  ends  inboard  an  inch  and  a  hi 
besides  knocking  the  loose  cover  of  the  pilot-house  half  off.  T 
deepest  indentation  in  her  turret  was  two  inches  and  the  deep 
score  on  her  deck  was  only  one-half  inch.  Two  people  in 
turret  were  disabled  by  concussion  and  Chief  Engineer  Stimers  i 
hurt  in  the  same  way,  but  his  injuries  were  slight  and  he  plucl 
continued  in  the  fight  to  the  end.  The  Merrimac  was  struck  nine 
seven  times  in  the  two  days'  fight,  twenty  of  her  shot  marks  be: 
from  the  guns  of  the  Monitor.  Six  plates  of  her  outer  layer 
iron  were  penetrated  but  the  inner  layer  was  not  broken.  The  ] 
inch  guns  of  the  Monitor  were  new  and  large  for  their  time  and  • 
Bureau  of  Ordnance  was  suspicious  of  them,  having  issued  ord 
not  to  use  more  than  fifteen  pounds  of  powder  for  their  charj 
otherwise  their  shot  would  probably  have  broken  into  the  casern 
of  the  Merrimac.  At  a  later  period  greater  confidence  regardi 
these  guns  was  entertained  and  thirty,  and  even  fifty  pounds 
powder  were  safely  used  in  charging  them.  Engineer  Isaac  N« 
ton,  who  was  very  level-headed  about  such  matters,  testified  bef 
the  Congressional  Committee  on  the  Conduct  of  the  War  that 
believed  the  failure  of  the  Monitor  to  destroy  her  antagonist  \ 
due  entirely  to  the  low  powder  charges  prescribed.  He  also  t< 
ified  to  his  belief  that,  "But  for  the  injury  received  by  Lieuten 
Worden,  that  vigorous  officer  would  very  likely  have  badgered 
Merrimac  to  a  surrender."  The  Merrimac  having  been  hasi 
equipped  and  not  expecting  to  meet  any  but  wooden  ships  1 
nothing  but  shell  on  board;  had  she  been  provided  with  solid  s 
the  effect  upon  the  Monitor  might  have  been  different. 

The  success  of  the  Monitor  completely  changed  the  aspeci 
the  opening  military  operations  of  the  year  and  raised  the  Nc 
from  a  depth  of  apprehension  to  a  pinnacle  of  hope  and  jubilati 
No  single  event  of  the  Civil  War  so  thoroughly  aroused  the  entli 
iastic  admiration  of  the  loyal  North  as  did  this  Sunday  duel 
Hampton  Koads,  and  the  Monitor  and  her  crew  be'came  the  gi 
and  almost  only  subject  for  public  discussion  and  applause.  r 
world  is  prone  to  sing  the  praises  of  the  warrior  who  destroys, 
to  neglect  the  honors  due  to  him  who  makes  the  soldier's  suc< 
possible  by  providing  him  with  his  armor  and  his  weapons,  bu 


this  case  the  patient  toiler  reaped  the  greater  glory,  and  the  name 
and  fame  of  John  Ericsson  went  to  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth. 
Worden,  Greene,  Stimers  and  Newton  were  all  heroes  in  the  public 
estimation  and  saw  their  pictures  and  the  story  of  their  deeds  in  the 
public  prints  for  many  a  day,  but  all  the  applause  showered  upon 
them  was  little  compared  to  the  perfect  avalanche  of  honors  heaped 
upon  Ericsson  the  Engineer.  The  reason  for  this  unusual  sentiment 
is  easily  found.  Ericsson  had  been  for  several  months  held  up  to 
ridicule  and  abuse  to  such  an  extent  by  the  press  that  he  and  his 
work  were  known  to  all  men,  and  when  his  hour  of  triumph  came, 
that  innate  sense  of  sympathy  for  the  ' '  under  dog  "  in  a  fight  mani- 
fested itself  joyously  at  seeing  him  suddenly  and  unexpectedly  come 
uppermost.  Ericsson's  enemies  had  so  overdone  the  matter  of  per- 
secution that  in  the  end  he  owed  much  of  his  fame  tb  their  acts. 

Abroad,  the  news  of  the  battle  created  a  profound  sensation  and 
more  than  one  naval  power  whose  commercial  interests  or  thirst  for 
foreign  conquest  had  led  to  the  point  of  seriously  preparing  to  assail 
the  American  Republic  in  the  day  of  its  distress,  now  paused  to 
take  a  sober  second  thought  and  ultimately  concluded  to  check  their 
designs.  ' '  Probably  no  naval  conflict  in  the  history  of  the  world 
ever  attracted  as  much  attention  as  did  the  battle  in  Hampton 
Roads,  between  the  Monitor  and  the  Merrimac.  It  revolutionized 
the  navies  of  the  world,  and  showed  that  the  wooden  ships,  which 
had  long  held  control  of  the  ocean,  were  of  no  further  use  for  fight- 
ing purposes.  Commenting  upon  the  news  of  that  event,  the  Lon- 
don  said:  '  Whereas  we  had  available  for  immediate  pur- 
poses one  hundred  and  forty-nine  first-class  war-ships, we  have  now 
two,  these  two  being  the  Warrior  and  her  sister  Ironside.  There 
is  not  now  a  ship  in  the  English  navy,  apart  from  these  two,  that  it 
would  not  be  madness  to  trust  to  an  engagement  with  that  little 
Monitor. '  England  and  all  other  maritime  powers  immediately  pro- 
ceeded to  reconstruct  their  navies,  and  the  old  fashioned  three  and 
four-decker  line-of-battle  ships  were  condemned  as  useless.  Not 
only  in  ships,  but  in  their  armament,  there  was  rapid  progress,  and 
so  great  has  been  the  advance  in  marine  artillery  that  the  Monitors 
of  1862,  and  the  subsequent  years  of  the  American  war,  would  be 
unable  to  resist  the  shot  from  the  guns  of  1880-'87. ni 

1  Thomas  W.  Knox; — Decisive  Battles  since  Waterloo. 



On  March  28,  by  joint  resolution,  Congress  passed  a  vot 
thanks  to  Ericsson  for  his  "enterprise,  skill, energy,  and  forecj 
in  the  design  and  construction  of  the  Monitor,  and  he  was  the 
cipient  of  similar  honors  from  the  Legislature  of  the  State  of  '. 
York  and  from  innumerable  civil  organizations  and  socie 
Lieutenant  Worden  was  tendered  the  thanks  of  Congress  by  a  rei 
tion  approved  July  11,  1862,  and  in  the  following  February 
given  more  substantial  recognition  for  his  great  service  by  a  se 
resolution  authorizing  his  advancement  one  grade,  that  is,  to 
rank  of  captain,  he  having  been  promoted  to  commander  in 
meantime.  Ericsson  steadily  maintained  that  Stimers  and 
Worden  was  the  real  hero  of  the  Monitor,  because  he  alone  o: 
on  board  knew  how  to  operate  the  various  mechanisms  of 
vessel,  without .  which  knowledge  she  would  have  been  ut 
useless  in  the  face  of  the  enemy.  At  a  banquet  given  him  bj 
New  York  Chamber  of  Commerce  Ericsson  made  a  point  of  as 
ing  in  his  speech  that  he  regarded  the  success  of  the  Monito 
' '  entirely  owing  to  the  presence  of  a  master-mind  (Mr.  Stimei 
a  belief  which  he  defended  at  length  and  with  an  indisputable  i 
of  facts. 

This  public  laudation  of  Stimers,  not  confined  by  any  mea: 
Ericsson,  greatly  disturbed  Lieutenant  Worden  and  his  friends. 
Worden,  as  late  as  two  years  after  the  fight,  waited  upon 
Griswold,  a  Member  of  Congress  and  a  friend  of  Ericsson,  hs 
been  one  of  his  sureties  in  the  enterprise  of  building  the  ., 
itor,  to  complain  of  the  fancied  injustice  done  him  by  Eric 
Of  this  interview  Mr.  Griswold  wrote  to  Ericsson:  "  I 
just  had  a  call  from  Captain  Worden.  He  thinks  you  did 
injustice  in  your  Chamber  of  Commerce  remarks  for  the  sal 
complimenting  Stimers,  and  says  the  '  master-spirit '  had  nothi: 
all  to  do  with  the  affairs  of  the  Merrimac,  was  not  consulted, 
was  in  no  special  way  tributary  to  the  result  of  that  combat. ' ' 
spite  of  this  assertion,  the  great  weight  of  testimony  goes  to 
that  Stimers  was  consulted  and  was  in  a  special  way  "tribut: 
to  the  result  of  the  action.  Assistant  Secretary  of  the  Navy 
who  saw  the  fight,  telegraphed  the  Navy  Department  as  soon  i 

1  W.  C.  Church;— Life  of  John  Ericsson,  Vol.  I,  p.  298. 







































j,     .< 








could  learn  particulars  that  "Lieutenant  Worden,  who  com- 
manded the  Monitor,  handled  her  with  great  skill,  and  was  assisted 
by  Chief  Engineer  Stimers."  He  could  have  had  no  other  object 
in  mentioning  Stimers'  name,  to  the  exclusion  of  the  other 
officers,  in  this  message  except  the  wish  to  have  the  Department 
understand  who,  next  to  "Worden,  deserved  credit  for  the  victory  of 
the  Monitor. 

Lieutenant  Greene  in  the  letter  to  his  mother  before  quoted 
from  in  these  pages,  and  which  for  obvious  reasons  is  more  apt  to 
reveal  unvarnished  facts  than  a  formal  official  report  that  would 
become  a  public  document,  says  in  regard  to  the  officers'  stations 
for  battle  :  "Acting  Master  Stodder  was  at  the  wheel  which  turns 
the  tower,  hut  as  he  could  not  manage  it,  he  was  relieved  by 
Stimers."     The  italics  are  the  author's. 

Mr.  W.  C.  Church,  who  cannot  be  accused  of  partiality  for 
Mr.  Stimers,  says  in  his  Life  of  John  Ericsson:  "During  the  pass- 
age from  New  York,  the  working  gear  of  the  turret  was  permitted 
to  rust  for  want  of  proper  cleaning  and  oiling,  and  it  worked  with 
so  much  difficulty  during  the  engagement  with  the  Merrimac  that, 
but  for  the  energy  and  determination  of  Engineer  Stimers,  it  might 
not  have  revolved  at  all." 

Proofs  like  the  above  may  be  multiplied,  but  these  are  suffi- 
cient for  every  logical  purpose.  The  writer  has  no  desire  to 
magnify  the  services  of  Mr.  Stimers,  especially  as  it  will  become  a 
duty  as  this  history  progresses  to  narrate  certain  mistakes  of  that 
officer  whereby  the  naval  engineer  corps  suffered  the  most  serious 
reflection  upon  its  professional  competence  that  it  has  ever  experi- 
enced, but  from  an  impartial  review  of  all  the  facts  connected  with 
the  Monitor- Merrimac  battle  the  conclusion  is  plain  that  Chief 
Engineer  Alban  C.  Stimers  was  the  one  person  on  board  the  Mon- 
itor who  thoroughly  knew  how  to  use  that  vessel  and  her  weapons, 
and  but  for  his  presence  the  result  of  the  combat  would  in  all 
probability  have  been  very  different,  and  most  disastrous  to  the 
Monitor,  to  the  reputation  of  Lieutenant  Worden,  and  to  the  cause 
of  the  Union. 

The  day  after  the  fight  of  the  iron-clads,  the  Minnesota  was 
floated  and  soon  restored  to  serviceable  condition.  Immediately 
thereafter  the  Union  fleet  in  Hampton  Koads  began  receiving  addi- 


tions  almost  daily,  for  the  naval  occupation  of  this  position  wai 
important  element  in  the  grand  campaign  against  Richmond  the 
movement  by  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  The  Merrimac  ret 
to  Norfolk  where  she  was  docked  by  Constructor  Porter,  her  pla 
repaired  and  strengthened,  and  a  new  spur  fitted  to  her  bow. 
rough-and-ready  old  commodore,  Josiah  Tatnall,  was  placed  in  c 
mand  and  great  things  were  expected.  On  two  occasions — A 
11  and  May  8 — she  went  into  Hampton  Roads  and  looked  at 
Monitor  and  the  Federal  fleet,  but  no  fight  occurred  at  either  ti 
From  the  reports  of  the  Federal  commander-in-chief,  Goldsboroi 
and  of  Tatnall  it  appears  that  each  party  earnestly  desired  a  con 
and  that  the  other  was  afraid,  or  at  least  avoided  hostilities. 

Military  operations  compelled  the  surrender  of  Norfolk  to 
Union  forces  on  the  10th  of  May,  and  Tatnall  endeavored  to  i 
the  Merrvmac  by  taking  her  up  the  James  river,  but  finding  he 
draw  several  feet  too  much  water  for  the  river  he  reluctantly  set 
on  fire  and  abandoned  her.  Early  on  the  morning  of  May  11 
fire  reached  her  magazine  and  she  blew  up.  This  event  occasic 
such  a  wild  outburst  of  public  grief  in  Richmond  that  for  a  tin 
was  feared  the  governmental  departments  of  the  Confederacy  w 
be  attacked  by  a  mob.  The  Merrimac  had  been  proudly  called 
' '  iron  diadem  of  the  South, ' '  and  had  been  so  confidently  re 
upon  for  the  defense  of  the  James  River  that  after  her  destruc 
serious  thoughts  of  surrendering  Richmond  were  entertained, 
men  of  the  Merrimac  were  utilized  to  man  a  battery  up  the  rive 
Drury's  Bluff,  where  a  few  days  later  they  again  encountered  I 
old  foes  of  the  Monitor. 

Immediately  after  the  destruction  of  the  Merrimac,  FlagOi 
Goldsborough  took  possession  of  the  lower  part  of  James  li 
with  his  flagship,  the  /Susquehanna,  and  a  number  of  smaller  ves 
sending  Commander  John  Rodgers  with  the  Galena,  Monitor,  A 
took  and  Port  Boyal  on  an  expedition  up  the  river.  The  Ga 
had  just  come  from  the  builders'  works  at  Mystic,  Conn.,  and 
be  recalled  as  the  iron-clad  gunboat  built  in  accordance  with  th 
port  of  the  board  on  armored  vessels  of  the  previous  year. 
Monitor  was  now  commanded  by  Lieutenant  William  N.  Jei 
The  Aroostook  was  one  of  the  ninety-day  gunboats  and  the 
Royal  was  one  of  the  first  lot  of  double-enders.     Accompan 


them  was  the  vessel  fitted  out  by  the  Stevens  brothers  to  demon- 
strate the  excellence  of  their  system  of  protective  armor,  this  vessel 
being  referred  to  indiscriminately  in  the  official  reports  as  the  Ncm- 
gatuok  and  the  "U.  S.  revenue  steamer  E.  A.  Stevens-"  she  was 
commanded  by  a  revenue  marine  lieutenant  named  D.  C.  Con- 

The  morning  of  May  15  this  squadron  came  up  to  Ward's,  or 
Drury's  Bluff,  eight  miles  below  Eichmond,  where  the  river  was 
found  obstructed  with  piles  and  sunken  vessels  and  defended  by  a 
heavy  battery  mounted  about  two  hundred  feet  above  the  water. 
The  Galena  and  Monitor  anchored  about  six  hundred  yards  from  the 
battery  and  the  unarmored  vessels  about  twice  that  distance,  all 
opening  fire  upon  the  enemy's  works.  The  Monitor  soon  had  to  re- 
move to  a  greater  distance  on  account  of  being  unable  to  elevate  her 
guns  sufficiently.  She  was  struck  only  three  times  during  the  attack 
and  had'no  casualities.  The  100-pounder  Parrott  gun  of  the  Nau- 
gatuek  burst  early  in  the  action  and  disabled  that  vessel  as  it  was  the 
only  gun  she  had,  the  accident  resulting  eventually  in  the  discour- 
agement of  the  efforts  of  the  Stevens  brothers  to  induce  the  govern- 
ment to  accept  their  unfinished  battery. 

The  Galena,  at  anchor  and  with  her  broadside  sprung  towards  the 
enemy's  battery,  proved  a  fine  target  and  was  very  roughly  used  by 
the  plunging  shot  from  the  bluff,  which  struck  her  sloping  side 
armor  almost  at  right  angles.  In  the  plain  words  of  her  commander, 
John  Eodgers,  "We  demonstrated  that  she  is  not  shot  proof." 
Thirteen  shot  penetrated  the  side  armor,  several  coming  clear  through 
and  doing  great  damage  to  the  crew  by  scattering  splinters  and  frag- 
ments of  the  iron  plating,  while  others  stuck  in  the  wooden  backing 
after  passing  through  the  plating.  One  shell  made  a  clean  passage 
through  the  side  and  exploded  in  the  steerage,  setting  the  ship  on 
fire.  The  spar  deck  was  badly  splintered  and  broken  through  in 
some  places.  All  along  the  port  side,  which  was  the  one  exposed, 
knees,  planks,  bulkheads,  and  beams  were  splintered  and  started 
out  of  place.  Although  exposed  to  this  terrible  riddling,  Commander 
Eodgers  kept  his  ship  in  action  for  more  than  three  hours  and  only 
withdrew  when  his  ammunition  was  nearly  expended.  The  Galena 
had  thirteen  men  killed  and  eleven  wounded;  the  Naugatuch,  two 
wounded,  and  the  Port  Royal  had  her  commander,  George  Morris, 


The  following  extracts  from  the  official  report  of  Comm 
Rodgers  of  the  Galena  refer  to  meritorious  services  performi 
members  of  the  engineer  department  of  that  vessel: 

"Mr.  J.  W.  Thomson,  first  assistant  engineer,  coolly  re] 
some  of  the  valve  gear  which  broke  down,  under  fire,  and  und 
direction  a  fire  in  the  steerage,  caused  by  an  exploding  shel' 
extinguished  before  the  regular  firemen  reached  the  place." 

' '  Mr.  T.  T.  Millholland,  third  assistant  engineer,  in  char 
the  steam  fire  department,  was  active  and  efficient;  as  a  i 
shooter  he  did  good  service. ' ' 

"  Charles  Keny  on,  fireman,  was  conspicuous  for  persistent 
age  in  extracting  a  priming  wire,  which  had  become  bent  and 
in  the  bow  gun,  and  in  returning  to  work  the  piece  after  .his 
severely   burnt,  had  been  roughly  dressed  by  himself  with  c 
waste  and  oil." 

The  Wachusett  being  at  City  Point  in  the  James  River  the 
of  May,  it  was  represented  to  her  captain  that  there  were  no  j 
cians  in  the  town  and  that  some  of  the  people,  mostly  womei 
children,  were  in  great  need  of  medical  attendance.  The  em 
lines  were  believed  to  be  about  eight  miles  from  the  town,  so 
was  apparently  no  danger  in  answering  this  appeal.  Assistanl 
geon  G.  D.  Slocum  volunteered  to  go  on  shore  and  minister  t 
distressed  people  if  some  of  his  shipmates  would  go  with  him,  h 
caring  to  be  entirely  alone  in  an  enemy's  town,  and  Assistant 
master  L.  S.  Stockwell,  Chief  Engineer  Charles  H.  Baker,  and 
tenant  DeFord  of  the  army  signal  corps  agreed  to  accompany 
On  shore,  while  visiting  the  sick,  a  detachment  of  Confederate 
airy  suddenly  appeared  and  made  prisoners  of  the  officers  and  t 
the  boat's  crew  with  them,  carrying  them  off  to  Petersburg, 
that  place  the  commander  of  the  district, General  Huger,  apolo 
to  them  for  the  stupidity  of  his  men  and  said  he  would  have 
released,  as  they  had  been  captured  while  rendering  humane  a 
citizens  of  Virginia,  and,  furthermore,  were  unarmed  with  the  e 
tion  of  side  arms  when  taken. 

The  Richmond  authorities  refused  to  release  the  prisone: 
General  Huger's  recommendation  and  they  were  accordingly 


to  a  military  prison  at  Salisbury,  North  Carolina,  and  confined  in 
that  place.  The  peculiar  action  of  the  Eichmond  government  in 
this  case  -was  due  to  the  fact  that  there  was  talk  at  the  North  of  treat- 
ing some  Confederate  officers  captured  on  privateers  as  pirates,  and 
the  Southerners  wished  to  hold  some  Federal  naval  officers  as  hos- 
tages to  insure  their  own  officers  being  treated  as  prisoners  of  war. 
After  a  detention  of  twelve  weeks  in  Salisbury,  Mr.  Baker  and  some 
of  the  others  were  transferred  to  Libby  prison  in  Richmond,  and 
about  a  week  later  were  allowed  to  enter  the  Union  lines  on  parole. 
On  the  24th  of  September  Chief  Engineer  Baker  was  exchanged  for 
a  Confederate  army  captain  and  resumed  duty  under  his  own  flag. 


"  He  has  sounded  forth  the  trumpet  that  shall  never  call  retreat ; 
He  is  sifting  out  the  hearts  of  men  before  his  judgement-seat ; 
Oh!  be  swift,  my  soul,  to  answer  Him  ;  be  jubilant,  my  feet ; 
Our  God  is  marching  on." 
Julia  Ward  Howe — Battle-Hymn  of  the  Bepu 

1862— The  Civil  War,  Continued — Naval  Operations  in  the  Mississippi  River 
— Battles  Below  New  Orleans — Catastrophe  to  the  Mound  City — Attack 
on  Vicksburg — Warfare  on  the  Atlantic  Coast — Wreck  of  the  Addion- 
dack — Loss  of  the  Monitor — Peril  of  the  Passaic — Heroism  of  Assistant 
Engineer  H.  W.  Robie. 

AS  soon  as  a  sufficient  number  of  iron-clad  steamers  in  the  Mis 
f~\  sippi  were  completed,  Commodore  Foote  hastened  to  make 
of  them,  the  first  hostile  movement  being  an  attack  upon  Fort  Hei 
which  was  captured  Februry  6th  after  a  closely  contested  actioi 
little  more  than  one  hour.  The  attacking  force  consisted  of  the  ii 
clads  Benton,  (Foote's  flagship);  Essex,  Carondelet,  and  St.  Louis, 
the  wooden  gunboats  Conestoga,  Tyler,  and  Lexington.  The  att 
was  planned  as  a  joint  army  and  navy  enterprise  by  General  TJ. 
Grant  and  Commodore  Foote,  but  owing  to  the  wretched  condii 
of  the  roads  the  army  was  delayed  and  consequently  did  not  si 
in  the  honor  of  the  capture,  the  fort  having  surrendered  to  the  m 
force.  From  Fort  Henry,  Foote  moved  with  his  flotilla  to  I 
Donelson,  which  place  he  attacked  February  14th.  Here  he 
with  much  more  vigorous  opposition  than  had  been  experience! 
Fort  Henry,  and  in  the  course  of  an  hour  and  a  half  two  of  his  i 
sels  were  temporarily  disabled,  and  the  attack  was  discontinued 
the  night.  The  next  morning,  upon  resuming  the  bombardm< 
the  enemy  was  found  considerably  demoralized  and  after  a  fe< 
resistance  surrendered. 

A  naval  movement  on  a  far  greater  scale  was  already  on  fi 
having  for  its  object  the  opening  of  the  Mississippi  River  fron 
mouth.  Captain  David  G.  Farragut  was  selected  for  the  comm 
of  this  expedition  and  in  his  flagship,  the  Hartford,  arrived  on 
20th  of  February  oft  the  mouth  of  the  great  river  where  he  wai 



make  his  name  famous.  The  vessels  ordered  to  this  station  assem- 
bled one  by  one  at  the  Southwest  Pass  and  the  entire  month  of 
March  was  consumed  in  the  task  of  getting  the  heavier  ships  into 
the  deep  water  of  the  river  inside,  which  labor  was  finally  accom- 
plished with  the  exception  of  the  Colorado,  which  vessel  could  not  be 
lightened  enough  to  make  her  entrance  possible.  Her  commander 
and  a  large  number  of  her  officers  and  men  went  as  volunteers  in 
other  ships  of  the  fleet.  As  finally  assembled  in  the  river  at  Pilot 
Town  the  fleet  proper  consisted  of  seventeen  vessels  of  the  classes 
and  armament  exhibited  in  the  table  following.  The  Varv/na  was  a 
merchant  steamer  purchased  in  1861  for  $135,000,  but  all  the  others 
will  be  recognized  as  being  regularly  built  war- vessels  and  all,  with 
the  exception  of  the  Mississippi,  of  a  type  then  modern. 






Screw  Sloops 









Capt.  D.  G.  Farragut.1 
Capt.  H.  H.  Bell.4 
Capt.  H.  W.  Morris.8 
Capt.  T.  T.  Craven. 
Com.  James  Al'den. 
Com.  S.  P.  Lee. 
Com.  Chas.  S.  Boggs. 
Com.  John  DeCamp. 

Chief  Engr.  J.  B.  Kimball. 

Chief  Eng.  S.  D.  Hibbert. 
Chief  Eng.  Wm.  B.  Brooks. 
Chief  Eng.  John  W.  Moore. 
Chief  Eng.  F.  C.  Dade. 
Act.  1st.  A.  Eng.  R.  Henry. 
1st  Asst.  Eng.  John  H.  Long. 



Side  Wheel. 

Mississippi  .. 



Com.  M.  Smith. 

Chief  Eng.  E.  Lawton. 




Lieut.  N.  B.  Harrison. 
Lieut.  C.  H.  B.  Caldwell. 
Lieut.  Geo.  H.  Preble. 
Lieut.  J.  H.  Eussell. 
Lieut.  G.  M.  Ransom. 
Lieut.  Pierce  Crosby. 
Lieut.  E.  Donaldson. 
Lieut.  E.  T.  Nichols. 
Lieut.  A.  N.  Smith. 

2d.  Asst.  Eng.  G.  W.  Rodgers. 
2d.  Asst.  Eng.  J.  H.  Morrison. 
2d.  As.  Eng.  T.  M.  Dukehart. 
2d.  As.  Eng.  Henry  W.  Fitch. 
2d.  As.  Eng.  S.  W.  Cragg. 
1st  As.  Eng.  John  Johnson. 
2d.  A.  Eng.  Chas.  E.  Devalin. 
2d.  A.  Eng,  Jas.  P.  Sprague. 
2d.  A.  Eng.  T.  S.  Cunningham. 

Katahdin.  ... 


1  Flag  Officer,  commanding  fleet. 

"  Fleet-Captain.  Commander  Richard  Wainwright  actually  commanded  the 
Hartford  during  the  ensuing  operations. 

3  Owing  to  Captain  Morris'  defective  eyesight,  the  executive  officer,  Lieutenant 
F.  A.  Roe,  was  in  praotical  charge  of  this  ship. 


In  addition  to  this  force  there  was  also  a  flotilla  of  ta 
schooners  under  the  command  of  Commander  David  D.  Porter, 
schooner  mounting  one  XHI-inch  mortar.  These  vessels  were  m 
commanded  by  their  former  captains,  who  had  entered  the  nava' 
vice  as  acting  masters  and  were  excellent  examples  of  that  large 
courageous  class  of  practical  seamen  who  contributed  so  large 
the  success  of  the  naval  arms  during  the  rebellion.  Their  chan 
and  services  were  well  understood  by  Porter,  who  thus  refe 
them  in  a  report  written  by  him  in  July,  1862: 

"Again,  sir,  I  have  to  mention  favorably  the  divisional  offii 
and  the  acting  masters  commanding  mortar  vessels.  Anchort 
all  times  in  a  position  selected  by  myself,  more  with  regard  tc 
object  to  be  accomplished  than  to  any  one's  comfort  or  sal 
knowing  that  they  will  have  to  stay  there  without  a  chance  of 
ting  away  till  I  think  proper  to  remove  them,  (no  matter  how  t 
the  shot  and  shell  may  fly)  there  has  always  existed  a  rivalry : 
who  shall  have  the  post  of  honor  (the  leading  vessel)  almost  cei 
to  be  struck,  if  not  destroyed. 

"They  know  no  weariness,  and  they  really  seem  to  take 
light  in  mortar  firing,  which  is  painful  even  to  those  accustome 
it.  It  requires  more  than  ordinary  zeal  to  stand  the  ore 
Though  I  may  have  at  times  been  exacting  and  fault-finding 
them  for  not  conforming  with  the  rules  of  the  service  (whicl 
quires  the  education  of  a  life-time  to  learn)  yet  I  cannot  with 
my  applause  when  I  see  these  men  working  with  such  earnest 
untiring  devotion  to  their  duties  while  under  fire." 

Six  steamers  accompanied  the  mortar  fleet  to  move 
schooners  about  and  to  protect  them  in  a  measure  from  att 
that  their  peculiar  armament  could  not  oppose,  these  steamers  b 
the  Owasco,  Miami,  Harriet  Lane,  Westfield,  Clifton,  and  J 
Jackson.  The  Owasco  was  a  ninety-day  gunboat;  the  Miami 
of  the  first  lot  of  double-enders;  the  Harriet  Lane  a  side- wheel 
enue  cutter  transferred  from  the  Treasury  Department,  and 
other  three  were  large  and  heavily- armed  side- wheel  ferry-boat 

After  the  fleet  had  stripped  for  action  and  left  at  Pilot  T 
all  spars,  sails,  rigging  and  unnecessary  boats,  it  moved  up  tc 


desperate  undertaking  of  attacking  and  passing  the  two  forts, 
Jackson  and  St.  Phillip,  most  advantageously  located  at  a  bend  on 
opposite  banks  of  the  riyer.  A  short  distance  below  the  forts  the 
river  was  barred  with  a  combination  of  large  log  rafts  and  schoon- 
ers at  anchor,  supporting  heavy  chains  reaching  from  bank  to  bank. 
Auxiliary  to  the  forts  and  above  them  in  the  river  was  a  flotilla  of 
Confederate  vessels,  consisting  of  four  naval  steamers,  six  gunboats 
of  the  local  River  Defense  Fleet,  and  two  armed  steamers  belong- 
ing to  the  State  of  Louisiana.  The  most  formidable  of  the  Confed- 
erate naval  vessels  was  the  ram  Manassas,  which  the  previous 
October  had  been  in  action  with  the  Richmond  in  the  Southwest 
Pass  and  had  somewhat  damaged  that  vessel.  She  was  originally 
a  large  sea-going  tug-boat  named  Enoch  Train  and  had  been  con- 
verted into  a  ram  by  being  arched  over  with  timber  and  plated  with 
old-fashioned  railroad  strap  iron,  about  an  inch  thick.  She  had 
twin  screws  and  carried  one  32-pounder  gun  pointing  right  ahead. 
Another  of  the  naval  vessels  was  the  Louisiana,  a  large  armored 
river  steamer  similar  to  the  Federal  iron-clad  Benton  described  in  a 
previous  chapter;  she  had  sixteen  heavy  guns,  nine  of  them  being 
VI  and  Vll-inch  rifles,  and  would  have  been  a  formidable  antago- 
nist had  it  not  been  for  the  fact  that  Farragut  made  his  attack  before 
her  machinery  was  quite  finished.  The  other  naval  vessels  and  the 
River  Defense  boats  were  river  steamers  mounting  from  two  to 
seven  guns  each,  lightly  armored  forward,  and  the  two  State  vessels 
were  small  sea-going  steamers,  also  armored  on  their  bows,  and 
mounting  two  guns  each. 

The  mortar  flotilla  was  moved  up  to  within  about  three  thousand 
yards  of  Fort  Jackson  and  rendered  almost  indistinguishable  by 
dressing  the  masts  with  bushes  and  foliage,  the  vessels  lying  close 
to  the  bank  with  a  background  of  trees.  On  the  18th  of  April  they 
opened  fire  upon  Jackson  and  for  nearly  six  days  maintained  an 
almost  uninterrupted  bombardment,  doing  the  enemy's  works  much 
damage  and  receiving  some  in  return,  one  of  the  schooners  being 
sunk  at  her  anchors  by  a  shell  dropping  completely  through  her. 
To  divert  the  fire  of  the  forts  from  the  mortar  fleet,  a  sloop  of  war 
and  two  or  three  gunboats  were  each  day  advanced  into  the  zone  of 
fire  and  effected  the  object  satisfactorily  by  moving  about  near  the 
head  of  the  line  of  schooners  and  firing  on  the  forts  at  the  same 


time.  The  Oneida,  just  out  of  the  shipyard  where  she  was  b 
was  the  first  of  the  sloops  to  go  into  this  fire  and  she  demonstr 
that  in  spite  of  her  pretty  name  of  the  beautiful  lake  of  the 
quois  she  was  to  be  ruled  by  an  evil  star,  for  her  baptism  of 
cost  her  many  ugly  hits  and  nine  men  badly  wounded.  The 
forth  her  career  was  one  of  misfortune,  until  finally  in  a  far-dis 
sea  she  went  to  the  bottom  with  the  greater  part  of  her  crew. 

While  the  mortars  were  thus  furiously  engaged,  Farragut 
making  all  ready  for  the  attempt  to  run  past  the  forts.  One  ir 
esting  expedient  adopted  by  him  was  the  shifting  of  weights 
board  all  the  vessels  so  that  they  were  down  by  the  head  about 
foot,  the  object  being  to  prevent  the  swift  current  from  swinj 
them  head  down  stream  in  case  of  taking  the  bottom,  as  w< 
have  resulted  had  they  grounded  with  the  usual  trim  of  the  greE 
draft  aft.  All  unnecessary  top-hamper  had  been  previously 
pensed  with,  and  now  five  of  the  gunboats  removed  even  t 
lower  masts.  Chain  cables  were  stopped  up  and  down  the  si 
sides  to  protect  the  machinery,  and  the  vessels  were  rendi 
difficult  to  see  on  the  muddy  water  by  daubing  them  over  with 
yellow  mud  of  the  river.  These  last  two  expedients  were  du< 
the  ingenuity  of  engineers  on  board  the  Richmond.  The  us< 
chain  cable  for  armor  is  said  by  several  officers  who  were  attac 
to  the  Richmond  at  the  time  to  have  been  suggested  by  First  As 
ant  Engineer  Eben  Hoyt  of  that  vessel  and  was  proposed  to 
commanding  officer  by  the  chief  engineer,  Mr.  John  W.  Mo 
From  Farragut's  detailed  report  of  the  battles  below  New  Orl< 
the  following  relating  to  this  point  is  quoted: 

' '  Every  vessel  was  as  well  prepared  as  the  ingenuity  of 
commander  and  officers  could  suggest,  both  for  the  preservatio 
life  and  of  the  vessel,  and,  perhaps,  there  is  not  on  record  sue 
display  of  ingenuity  as  has  been  evinced  in  this  little  squad 
The  first  was  by  the  engineer  of  the  Richmond,  Mr.  Moore, 
suggesting  that  the  sheet  cables  be  stopped  up  and  down  on 
sides  in  the  line  of  the  engines,  which  was  immediately  adopted 
all  the  vessels. ' ' 

Under  the  date  of  October  16,  1862,  Chief  Engineer  Mo 


writing  from  the  Richmond,  then  at  Fensacola,  addressed  the  Navy 
Department  in  regard  to  a  change  which  had  been  made  to  his 
disadvantage  in  the  arrangement  of  the  list  of  chief  engineers.  On 
the  original  of  this  letter,  now  on  file  in  the  Department,  in  Admiral 
Farragut's  own  handwriting  is  the  following  endorsement: 

' '  Kespectf ully  forwarded.  Mr.  Moore  is  the  gentleman  whom 
I  mentioned  in  my  official  letter  as  the  originator  of  cladding  the 
ships  with  their  chain  cables  and  has  always  been  spoken  of  by  his 
Commander  as  a  man  of  great  merit  both  in  and  out  of  his  pro- 

"  Yery  respectfully, 

D.  G.  Fakkagut." 

The  commanding  officer  of  the  Richmond  in  forwarding  Mr. 
Moore's  protest  took  occasion  to  write  the  following  letter,  which 
certainly  is  conclusive  as  to  whether  or  not  the  expedients  referred 
to  originated  with  members  of  the  engineer  corps: 

"Sir: — I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  herewith  a  remonstrance 
of  Chief  Engineer  Moore  of  this  vessel  against  the  action  of  a  Board 
of  Examiners  which  has  evidently  done  him  great  injustice.  Being 
more  or  less  interested  in  the  welfare  of  all  those  serving  under  my 
command  and  feeling  it  a  duty  to  come  to  their  aid  when  they  re- 
quire it,  I  trust  that  I  shall  be  excused  for  thus  trespassing  on  your 
valuable  time  and  will  proceed  at  once  to  the  point.  Imprimis 
then,  Mr.  Moore's  professional  standing  has  been  fixed  at  the  high- 
est point  by  the  several  Boards  before  which  he  has  appeared,  and 
to  my  mind  he  is  justly  entitled  to  that  distinction;  but  I  wish  now 
to  show  the  Department  that  he  has  besides  that  other  claims  to 
consideration.  They  are  as  follows:  About  this  time  last  year  I 
arrived  at  the  Southwest  Pass  in  the  South  Carolina  pretty  nearly 
broken  down  in  machinery.  Our  main  shaft  was  all  adrift  and 
neither  the  Niagara  and  Colorado  could  do  anything  for  us.  Mr. 
Moore,  who  was  on  board  this  ship  at  the  time  at  the  head  of  the 
passes,  hearing  of  our  trouble  came  down  and  very  soon  decided 
that  he  could  make  us  all  right  again,  and  in  less  than  three  days 
we  were,  by  his  individual  exertions,  fully  and  efficiently  repaired 


and  off  for  our  station.  Again,  the  idea  of  mailing  our  vessels' 
sides,  which  was  adopted  by  all  the  ships  of  the  squadron,  with 
chain  cables,  is  his.  We  know  that  it  saved  this  ship's  as  well  as 
the  Hartford's  machinery  from  serious  injury  and  consequently  the 
vessels  from  destruction,  the  armor  on  both  having  been  struck  by 
solid  shot  in  that  vital  locality.  After  the  passage  of  the  forts 
two-thirds  of  a  32-pounder  shot,  which  had  broken  its  way  through 
parts  of  the  chain,  was  found  embedded  in  our  side.  The  Captain 
of  the  Brooklyn  says  in  his  official  report,  in  speaking  of  the  ram 
Manassas:  "  His  efforts  to  damage  me  were  completely  frustrated, 
our  chain  armor  proving  a  perfect  protection  to  our  sides."  Sub-: 
sequent  examination  showed,  however,  that  the  ship  had  received 
serious  damage  and  that  nothing  out  the  armor  saved  her  from 

' '  The  idea  of  painting  the  ships  with  the  mud  of  the  Missis 
sippi  on  that  memorable  occasion  so  as  to  screen  them  as  much  as 
possible  from  observation,  a  color  now  adopted  by  the  Department 
as  national,  is  also  Mr.  Moore's. 

' '  Regretting  my  inability  to  state  this  case  properly  in  fewer 
words,  I  am,  Respectfully,  Your  obedient  servant, 

"James  Alden,  Commander. 
"Hon.  Gideon  Welles,  Secretary  U.  S.  Navy,  Washington,  D.  C." 

The  night  of  the  20th  of  April,  Lieutenant  Caldwell  in  the 
ItasTca  most  gallantly  boarded  one  of  the  schooners  supporting  the 
barrier  chain  and,  finding  its  ends  bitted  on  board,  slipped  them 
and  thus  created  a  gap  in  the  line  of  obstructions.-  The  night  of  the 
23rd  Farragut  made  all  final  preparations  for  passing  through  the 
gap  and  running  the  batteries  of  the  forts.  A  detailed  account  of  the 
event  that  followed  would  fill  a  book  the  size  of  this  if  properly 
dealt  with,  and  is,  moreover,  a  story  of  our  navy  to  which  sufficient 
justice  has  never  yet  been  done  by  historians,  it  being  one  of  the 
greatest  and  most  desperate  engagements  in  our  naval  annals. 
Briefly,  at  2  a.  m.  the  24th,  the  signal — two  blood-red  lights  at  the 
peak  of  the  Hartford — was  made  for  the  movement  to  begin  and 
the  leading  division,  after  some  delay  on  account  of  difficulty  in 


managing  the  anchors  in  the  strong  current,  moved  up  through  the 
opening  and  into  furious  action  with  the  forts.  This  division  was 
led  by  Captain  Theodorus  Bailey  in  the  gunboat  Cayuga,  followed 
by  the  Pensacola,  Mississippi,  Oneida,  Varima,  Katahdin,  Kineo, 
and  Wissahickon,  in  the  order  named,  and  was  under  orders  to  pro- 
ceed along  the  left,  or  east,  bank  of  the  river,  engaging  Fort  St. 
Phillip  with  the  starboard  batteries.  Captain  Bailey  belonged  to 
the  Colorado  and  had  hoisted  his  division  flag  on  the  Cayuga  through 
the  kindness  of  Lieutenant  Napoleon  B.  Harrison  commanding  that 
vessel,  the  commander  of  the  Oneida  having  previously  objected  to 
being  overshadowed  by  the  presence  of  a  divisional  officer  on  board 
his  vessel,  which  objection  cost  him  the  honor  of  having  his  ship 
lead  the  first  column. 

Behind  Bailey's  division  came  Farragut  with  the  Hartford, 
BrooMyn  and  Richmond,  forming  what  was  called  the  center  divi- 
sion, and  this  was  followed  by  Fleet  Captain  Bell,  leading  the  third 
division  of  six  vessels,  in  the  gunboat  Sciota.  The  second  and 
third  divisions  were  to  follow  up  the  western  bank  and  engage  Fort 
Jackson  with  the  port  batteries.1  The  steamers  attached  to  the 
mortar  flotilla  moved  up  near  the  forts  as  the  fleet  got  under  way 
and  in  conjunction  with  the  mortar  schooners  opened  a  terrific  can- 
nonading against  the  works,  greatly  augmented  by  the  firing  from 
the  passing  ships.  In  the  heavy  smoke  that  soon  settled  over  the 
river  it  became  impossible  for  signals  to  be  read  and  much  con- 
fusion resulted,  each  vessel  being  obliged  to  fight  out  its  own  des- 
tiny. With  the  air  filled  with  bursting  shells  and  obscured  by 
smoke,  the  roar  of  heavy  guns,  the  shouts  of  command,  the  screams 
of  mangled  men,  and  the  river  covered  with  fire  rafts  and  burning 
wreckage,  the  scene  was  most  awful  and  unearthly,  and  justified 
the  brief  comment  made  by  Farragut  in  his  official  report:  "  Such  a 
fire,  I  imagine,  the  world  has  rarely  seen. ' ' 

The  vessels  suffered  severely  from  damages  and  casualties,  but 
within  an  hour  and  a  quarter  after  the  Cayuga  had  passed  the  gap 
in  the  barrier  the  fleet  with  the  exception  of  three  gunboats  of  the  last 

1  The  order  of  battle  herein  described  is  derived  from  the  supplemental  report 
published  in  the  annual  report  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  for  1869,  which  was  in- 
tended as  an  official  correction  of  numerous  inaccuracies  that  had  appeared  in  several 
naval  histories. 


division— the  Kennebec,  Itasca  and  Winona— had  passed  above  ti 
and  appeared  in  the  Confederate  flotilla, '  'like  dogs  among  a  f 
sheep,"  as  Captain  Mahan  expresses  it  in  his  account  of  the 
in  "The  Gulf  and  Inland  Waters."  The  three  last  gunboa 
to  bear  the  brunt  of  the  fire  from  the  forts  after  the  other  m 
had  passed  out  of  range  and  were  very  roughly  used;  the  Itasi 
wholly  disabled  by  a  shot  through  her  boiler,  two  firemen 
severely  scalded  as  a  result,  and  the  other  gunboats  suffer 
severely  that  the  attempt  to  run  the  batteries  appeared  nc 
foolhardy  but  impossible.  They  rejoined  the  fleet  a  few 

The  first  vessels  to  break  into  the  enemy's  fleet  we 
Cayuga  and  Varivna,  both  of  which  fared  badly  until 
vessels  came  up.  The  Vamma  was  rammed  by  two  of  the  G 
erate  boats  and  so  damaged  that  her  commander  ran  her  a 
where  she  sank,  the  crew  escaping  previous  to  the  disaster  wi 
exception  of  three  men  killed  and  nine  wounded.  The  Cayut 
badly  cut  up,  being  struck  forty-two  times,  but  she  remaic 
action  and  individually  received  the  surrender  of  three  < 
enemy's  vessels.  The  ram  Manassas  struck  the  Richmond  ( 
starboard  side  and  so  crushed  in  her  planking  that  she  nms 
been  destroyed  had  the  blow  been  slightly  heavier;  as  it  wi 
chain  armor  saved  her.  The  Manassas  also  rammed  the  ok 
wheel  frigate  Mississippi  and  nearly  stove  in  her  side,  but  th< 
being  a  glancing  one  the  break  did  not  extend  entirely  throuj 
side.  These  acts  of  the  Manassas  were  committed  while  the  t 
were  in  action  with  the  forts.  When  the  Federal  fleet  had  ] 
up,  the  Mannassas  was  seen  quietly  following,  and  Captain  M 
thon  Smith  of  the  Mississippi — a  good  fighter  and  a  good  Ch 
— asked  and  obtained  permission  by  signal  to  go  back  and 
her.  The  ram  seemed  unwilling  to  try  conclusions  with  the 
old  ship  coming  straight  down  upon  her  with  the  swift  curren 
just  before  the  impending  collision  she  shied  high  up  into  th< 
bank,  where  her  crew  made  hurried  preparations  for  her  destr 
and  abandonment,  and  then  took  to  the  shore.  As  soon  as  p< 
a  boat  was  sent  from  the  Mississippi  to  see  what  could  be 
with  her  late  antagonist,  First  Assistant  Engineer  William  H. 
being  in  the  boarding  party  to  take  charge  of  the  machinery. 


>at  soon  returned,  reporting  that  it  was  impracticable  to  save  the 
Tanassas,  -which  had  been  set  on  fire  and  disabled,  and  Mr.  Hunt 
1  his  part  reported  that  the  piping  through  the  hull  had  been  cut, 
e  water  run  out  of  sight  in  the  boiler,  the  fires  kept  raging  in 
ie  furnaces,  the  safety  valves  shored  down,  and  the  steam 
lage  showing  136  pounds  (a  frightful  pressure  in  those  days), 
-"with  a  tendency  hellward."  The  Mississippi  therefore  re- 
irned  up  the  river  to  rejoin  the  fleet.  Later,  the  water  coming  in 
trough  the  cut  pipes,  depressed  the  stern  of  the  Manassas,  floated 
3r  bow  off  the  bank,  and  the  current  carried  her  down  to  Porter's 
Lortar  fleet,  where  her  appearance  created  considerable  consterna- 
on,  but  she  soon  faintly  exploded  and  sank. 

According  to  Flag  Officer  Farragut's  report  eleven  of  the 
aemy's  steamers  were  destroyed  during  this  morning  fight,  which 
ractically  annihilated  their  fleet.  The  Federal  fleet  remained  at 
ichor  one  day  to  rest  the  men  and  repair  damages  and  on  the 
lorning  of  the  25th,  Captain  Bailey  in  the  Cayuga  still  leading, 
roceeded  up  the  river,  had  a  sharp  skirmish  with  the  Ohalmette 
atteries,  and  at  noon  anchored  off  the  City  of  New  Orleans.  The 
ty  was  taken  possession  of  and  held  by  the  naval  force  under 
ery  strained  and  trying  circumstances  until  May  1,  when  General 
.  F.  Butler  arrived  with  a  large  force  and  assumed  military  con- 
ol  of  the  place,  the  fleet  soon  after  proceeding  on  its  mission  of 
mquest  up  the  river.  Commander  Porter  continued  the  bombard- 
Lent  of  the  lower  forts  with  his  flotilla  until  the  28th  of  April,  when 
ley  surrendered  to  him.  The  casualties  in  the  fleet  during  the 
attle  of  the  24th,  as  reported  by  the  fleet  surgeon,  amounted  to 
drty-seven  killed  and  one  hundred  and  forty-seven  wounded,  a 
scord  that  makes  this  one  of  the  bloodiest  naval  battles  of  the  re- 
sllion.  Two  officers,  both  midshipmen,  were  killed  and  eleven 
ere  wounded  ;  three  of  the  latter — Second  Assistant  Engineer  S. 
rilkins  Cragg,  acting  chief  of  the  Kineo;  Third  Assistant  J.  C. 
hartley  of  the  Pensacola,  and  Acting  Third  Assistant  Frank  K. 
ain  of  the  Colorado,  serving  as  a  volunteer  on  the  Iroquois — were 
':  the  engineer  corps,  all  injured  by  gunshot  wounds. 

The  reports  of  many  of  the  commanding  officers  of  vessels  en- 
iged  in  this  battle  referred  in  terms  of  praise  to  the  zeal  and  abil  ■ 
y  displayed  by  the  engineers  and  .their  men  in  keeping  the  machin- 



ery  in  efficient  operation  under  trying  conditions.  Captain  Bs 
in  describing  the  battle  afterward,  on  the  occasion  of  a  bai 
given  him  at  the  Astor  House  in  New  York,  is  credited  with  hi 
made  the  modest  statement  that,  "the  engineers  ran  the  ships 
all  we  had  to  do  was  to  blaze  away  when  we  got  up  to  the  fc 
Assistant  Engineer  Hartley  of  the  Pensacola  was  most  high 
f erred  to  in  the  official  reports  for  the  courage  he  exhibited;  hi 
stationed  at  the  engine-room  bell  and  was  wounded  in  the  he; 
a  piece  of  shell,  and,  although  urged  to  go  below  for  treat] 
refused  to  leave  his  station,  remaining  there  all  through  the  ai 

On  the  28th  of  May  Chief  Engineer  James  B.  Kimball  o 
Hartford,  while  ashore  in  Baton  Rouge  with  a  boat's  crew  on 
was  suddenly  fired  upon  by  the  enemy  and  himself  and  two  < 
men  badly  wounded.  Mr.  Kimball  was  struck  in  the  head, 
and  neck  with  slugs  and  most  painfully  hurt,  although  hi 

A  frightful  disaster  befell  a  squadron  of  the  Mississippi  fl 
in  June  of  this  year.  The  gunboats  Mound  City,  St.  Louis, 
ington,  and  Gonestoga,  under  Commander  Augustus  H.  Kilty  < 
Mound  City,  were  sent  into  White  River  to  convoy  som£ 
transports  and  assist  in  an  attack  upon  some  Confederate 
teries  at  St.  Charles,  Arkansas.  The  attack  was  made  June  1 
resulted  in  the  capture  of  the  enemy's  fortifications,  but  during  it 
gress  a  shot  penetrated  the  casemate  of  the  Mound  City  just  al 
gun  port,  killed  three  men  in  its  flight,  and  exploded  her  steam  i 
The  immediate  result  was  horrible;  nearly  eighty  men  were  sc 
to  death  by  the  steam  which  filled  the  casemate,  and  forty 
others  were  drowned  or  shot  by  the  enemy  after  leaping 
board.  Of  one  hundred  and  seventy-five  officers  and  men 
twenty-five  escaped  uninjured,  the  number  killed  or  who  i 
quently  died  being  one  hundred  and  thirty-five.  Commander 
was  so  scalded  that  his  left  hand  had  to  be  amputated.  A 
the  killed  were  Chief  Engineer  John  Cox;  Second  Assistant 
neer  John  C.  McAfee,  and  Third  Assistant  G.  W.  Hoi 

Early  in  the  morning  of  June  28th,  Admiral  Farragut  wi 
Hartford,  Richmond,  Iroquois,  Oneida,  Wis&ahickon,  £. 
Winona,  and  Pmola  ran  the  batteries  at  Vicksburg,  assisti 


>mmander  Porter  with  his  mortar  flotilla.  The  military  impor- 
nce  of  this  move  is  not  apparent,  as  the  batteries  were  not  de- 
coyed, and  in  the  nature  of  things  could  not  be  materially  harmed 
'  ships,  located  as  they  were  on  bluffs  high  above  the  water 
pom  Farragut's  report  it  seems  that  the  move  was  largely  experi- 
ental,  for  he  says: 

"In  obedience  to  the  orders  of  the  department  and  the  com- 
and  of  the  President,  I  proceeded  back  to  Yicksburg  with  the 
rookh/n,  Richmond,  and  Hertford,  with  the  determination  to 
,rry  out  my  instructions  to  the  best  of  my  ability. ' ' 

And  again: 

'  'The  department  will  perceive  from  this  (my)  report  that  the 
rts  can  be  passed,  and  we  have  done  it,  and  can  do  it  again  as 
'ten  as  may  be  required  of  us.  It  will  not,  however,  be  an  easy 
atter  for  us  to  do  more  than  silence  the  batteries  for  a  time,  as 
ng  as  the  enemy  has  a  large  force  behind  the  hills  to  prevent  our 
nding  and  holding  the  place." 

One  of  Porter's  steamers,  the  CUfton,  was  disabled  in  this 
fair  by  a  shot  through  her  boiler  which  killed  six  men  by  scalding, 
be  total  casualties  of  the  morning  were  fifteen  men  killed  and 
irty  wounded,  about  one-third  of  the  number  being  on  the  flag- 
tip.  Farragut  himself  and  Captain  Broome  of  the  Marine  corps 
>pear  on  the  surgeon's  report  of  casualties  as  having  suffered  from 
•ntusions  on  the  Hartford.  The  report  of  Commander  S.  P.  Lee 
the  Oneida  says:  "  One  6-inch  rifle  shell  came  through  the  star- 
>ard  after  pivot  port,  killing  S.  H.  Eandall,  a  seaman,  at  the  after 
vot  gun,  severely  wounding  Eichard  Hodgson,  third  assistant  en- 
neer,  at  the  engine  bell,  and,  passing  through  the  coamings  of 
e  engine-room  hatch,  picked  up  three  loaded  muskets,  (each  lying 
it  on  the  deck,  on  the  port  side  of  that  hatch)  and  burst  into  the 
ilwarks,  over  the  first  cutter,  which  was  lowered  to  near  the 
iter's  edge,  drove  the  muskets  through  the  open  port  there,  and 
verely  wounded  William  Cowell,  seaman,  who  was  in  the  boat 
unding,  and  slightly  wounding  Henry  Clark,  chief  boatswain's 
ate A  second  8-inch  compound   solid  shot  carried 


away,  amidships,  the  keel  of  the  launch,  (which  was  partly  low< 
and,  entering  on  the  starboard  side,  struck  the  steam  drum, 
glancing,  fell  into  the  fire-room." 

On  the  5th  of  July  when  the  iron-clad  Lexington  was 
ceeding  along  the  White  River,  Arkansas,  her  chief  engineer, 
Joseph    Huber,    was   shot   dead   by   guerillas   lurking   along 

On  the  Atlantic  coast  after  the  remarkable  fight  of  the 
clads  in  Hampton  Roads  there  were  no  very  important  nava 
gagements  during  the  year.  The  unromantic  and  wearying  wo 
maintaining  the  blockade  along  that  coast  employed  the  gr 
number  of  the  sea-going  vessels  and  kept  them  extremely  ac 
while  in  the  rivers,  bays  and  sounds  the  smaller  steamers  wer 
gaged  in  a  ceaseless  border  warfare  with  the  armed  vessels 
shore  batteries  of  the  enemy.  This  latter  employment  furnisl 
fine  field  for  adventure  and,  although  on  a  small  scale,  gave  oj 
tunity  for  the  development  of  a  class  of  intrepid  and  self-K 
young  officers,  of  which  class  Lieutenant-commander  C.  W.  Fl 
and  Lieutenant  Wm.  B.  Cushing  were  brilliant  examples.  Tv 
three  incidents  will  suffice  to  indicate  the  dangerous  nature  of 
litteral  warfare. 

On  the  14th  of  August  Lieutenant  George  B.  Balch  in  th< 
cahontas  proceeded  up  Black  River,  South  Carolina,  some  tw 
five  miles  looking  for  a  Confederate  steamer  said  to  be  in  h 
there.  Meeting  with  more  resistance  than  expected  from  the  ei 
along  the  banks  he  finally  turned  back  and  as  the  neighborhoo< 
become  aroused  the  Pocahontas  had  to  run  the  gauntlet  for 
twenty  miles  of  riflemen  concealed  in  the  thickets  on  both  b 
she  replying  all  the  distance  with  grape  and  cannister  and  sma 
fire.  By  keeping  the  men  behind  breastworks  of  hammocks 
lumber  she  escaped  with  only  one  casualty,  that  being  report* 
Lieutenant  Balch  as  follows:  "At  3:40  p.  m.,  whilst  under  a 
sharp  fire  of  the  enemy,  Acting  Third  Assistant  Engineer  Jol 
Hill  was  wounded  by  a  Minie  ball,  and  I  regret  to  report  tha 
wound  is  very  dangerous;  as  yet,  however,  I  am  rejoiced  to 
that  his  symptoms  are  all  favorable;  it  is  a  penetrating  wound  < 
abdomen,  the  ball  having  passed  entirely  through  his  bod) 
need  not  say  that  he  is  receiving  the  most  assiduous  care  o: 


Rhoades,  and  he  has  been  removed  to  the  open  deck  under  the 
poop,  that  he  may  have  the  benefit  of  the  cooler  atmosphere ;  and  I 
am  satisfied  that  if  skill  and  attention  can  avail  his  life  will  be 

Mr.  Hill  furnished  an  example  of  remarkable  recovery,  for  he 
survived  his  wound,  served  faithfully  throughout  the  war  and,  as  a 
first  assistant  engineer,  was  honorably  mustered  out  in  December, 

September  9th,  the  Shawsheen  had  a  similar  experience,  she 
being  ambushed  off  Cross'  Landing  in  the  Chowan  River,  North 
Carolina,  and  escaped  with  one  casualty,  also  an  assistant  engineer; 
this  officer,  John  Wall  by  name,  was  shot  in  the  thigh  and  wrist  and 
dangerously  wounded,  but  ultimately  recovered. 

The  morning  of  October  3d,  Lieutenant  Commander  Flusser 
with  the  Commodore  Perry,  Hwnchback,  and  Whitehead  went  up 
the  Blackwater  River  to  co-operate  with  Major  General  Dix  in  an 
attack  on  Franklin,  Virginia.  When  near  the  town  the  vessels 
were  suddenly  attacked  by  a  large  force  lying  in  ambush  in  the 
woods  and  on  high  bluffs,  and  suffered  severely,  not  being  able  to 
use  their  ordnance  to  advantage  in  reply.  After  fighting  for  three 
hours  under  these  conditions  and  getting  no  support  from  the  army, 
which  did  not  appear,  the  steamers  returned  down  the  river,  being 
obliged  to  force  their  way  with  a  heavy  head  of  steam  through  ob- 
structions made  by  the  enemy  felling  trees  into  the  narrow  stream. 
The  affair  cost  four  men  killed  and  fifteen  wounded,  twelve  of  the 
casualties  being  on  Flusser's  steamer,  the  Commodore  Perry.  One 
of  the  killed  was  an  officer — Master's  Mate  John  Lynch.  The 
following  instances  of  gallantry  are  mentioned  in  Flusser's  report: 

"  I  desire  to  mention  as  worthy  of  praise  for  great  gallantry, 
Lieutenant  William  B.  Cushing,  who  ran  the  field-piece  out  amid 
a  storm  of  bullets,  took  a  sure  and  deliberate  aim  at  the  rebels,  and 
sent  a  charge  of  cannister  among  them,  that  completely  silenced 
their  fire  at  that  point.  Mr.  Lynch  assisted  Mr.  Cushing,  and  here 
met  his  death  like  a  brave  fellow,  as  he  was. 

"Mr.  Richards,  third  assistant  engineer,  who  had  charge  of 
the  powder  division,  also  assisted  with  the  howitzer,   and  showed 


great  courage.     Mr.  Anderson,  the  paymaster,  was  of  great  ass 
ance  in  bringing  in  the  wounded  from  under  the  fire. ' ' 

Upon  the  receipt  of  this  report  Acting  Rear  Admiral  Lee,  e< 
manding  the  squadron,  directed  that  Acting  Third  Assistant  Enj 
eer  George  W.  Richards  be  examined  for  promotion  on  accoun 
his  conduct  in  the  fight,  and  he  was  shortly  afterward  advance* 
the  grade  of  acting  second  assistant  engineer. 

The  fine  screw-sloop  Adirondack,  fresh  from  the  New  York  n 
yard  where  she  was  built,  while  proceeding  to  the  Gulf  of  Me: 
struck  on  a  reef  near  Little  Abaco  Island  the  morning  of  Aug 
23rd,  and  became  a  total  wreck,  the  engineer  of  the  watch  stat 
that  when  she  struck  he  saw  the  jagged  points  of  the  reef  stick 
up  through  her  bottom  into  the  fire-room.  At  daylight  the  cc 
manding  officer,  Captain  Guert  Gansevoort,  ordered  all  hands  to 
to  the  island,  about  five  miles  distant,  and  said  that  he  would 
main  on  board.  The  boatswain,  Mr.  William  Green,  and  Sec< 
Assistant  Engineer  Henry  W.  Robie  elected  to  stay  with  him  ; 
soon  had  to  defend  the  ship  with  hatchets  and  revolvers  againi 
boat  load  of  villainous-looking  black  wreckers  who  came  off 
board  her,  but  were  successfully  driven  off.  The  two  officers  nan 
finally  prevailed  upon  the  almost  distracted  captain  to  abandon 
ship,  her  salvage  being  hopeless,  and  with  him  went  ashore  to  j 
the  rest  of  the  crew.  All  hands  lost  everything  they  owned  ex& 
the  clothing  they  had  on  at  the  time  of  stranding,  as  the  ship  fil 
with  water  immediately  and  settled  down  on  the  reef  until  her  S] 
deck  was  almost  awash.  The  shipwrecked  men  remained  on  Lii 
Abaco  about  two  weeks,  when  they  were  taken  off  by  the  U.  S. 
Canandaigua.  The  members  of  the  corps  who  shared  in  this  n 
fortune  were  Chief  Engineer  Alexander  Henderson,  First  AssiBti 
Engineer  George  J.  Barry,  Second  Assistants  Louis  J.  Allen  i 
Henry  W.  Robie,  and  Third  Assistants  T.  M.  Mitchell,  J. 
Greene  and  Thomas  Crummey. 

Mr.  Robie  was  a  brother  of  Chief  Engineer  E.  D.  Robie 
prominent  member  of  the  corps  until  his  recent  retirement,  t 
from  his  unfortunate  adventure  in  the  Adirondack  went  to  the  n 
monitor  Passaic,  where  a  more  dangerous  experience  was  in  st 
for  him.     The  Passaic  and  the  Monitor  left  Hampton   Roads 


afternoon  of  December  29th,  1862,  to  join  the  blockading  fleet  off 
Charleston,  the  former  being  towed  by  the  State  of  Georgia  and  the 
latter  by  the  Hhode  Island,  but  both  using  their  own  steam  as  well. 
Captain  Percival  Drayton  commanded  the  Passaic  and  Commander 
J.  P.  Bankhead  the  Monitor,  the  senior  engineers  of  the  vessels 
respectively  being  First  Assistant  Engineer  George  Bright  and  Sec- 
ond Assistant  Joseph  Watters.  The  evening  of  December  30  the 
sea  became  rough,  and  the  Monitor  began  making  heavy  weather 
of  it,  taking  in  quantities  of  water  through  the  hawse  pipes  and 
under  the  turret,  and  generally  renewing  the  experience  of  her  first 
voyage  from  New  York.  The  water  gained  steadily  and  soon  im- 
paired the  fires  by  rising  into  the  ash  pits  and  swashing  against  the 
grate  bars,  until  the  falling  steam  pressure  showed  too  plainly  that 
the  engines  and  pumps  must  soon  stop.  At  10:30  p.  m.  signals  of 
distress  were  made  to  the  Rhode  Island  and  that  vessel  undertook 
the  extremely  dangerous  and  difficult  task  of  removing  iheMonitor's 
people  in  the  heavy  sea  by  means  of  boats,  but  before  the  work  was 
completed  the  Monitor  sank.  This  happened  shortly  after  mid- 
night  of  the  morning  of  December  31,  about  twenty  miles  S.  S.-W. 
of  Cape  Hatteras.  With  her  perished  acting  ensigns  Norman 
Atwater  and  George  Frederickson;  third  assistant  engineers  K.  W. 
Hands  and  Samuel  A.  Lewis,  and  twelve  enlisted  men.  In  Com- 
mander Bankhead's  report  of  the  disaster  he  asserted  his  convic- 
tion that  a  serious  leak  had  been  sprung  by  the  pounding  of  the 
sea  separating  the  iron  hull  from  the  wooden  upper  body,  and  this 
seems  very  probable. 

In  the  meantime  the  Passaic  was  having  a  similar  experience, 
water  gaining  in  her  bilges  steadily  on  account  of  lack  of  strainers 
on  the  suction  pipes  of  the  pumps  which  resulted  in  the  pump  valves 
soon  choking  with  dirt  and  ashes.  This  absence  of  a  very  essential 
fitting  was  caused  by  the  vessel  having  been  hurried  away  from  the 
contractors'  works  by  the  naval  authorities  before  the  engine-room 
details  were  completed.  About  midnight  the  last  pump  gave  out 
and  as  the  water  threatened  to  reach  the  fires  and  extinguish  them, 
the  fire-room  was  abandoned  and  the  crew  assembled  on  top  of  the 
turret.  The  chief  engineer  was  confined  to  his  room  by  illness 
before  the  vessel  left  Hampton  Roads,  leaving  Mr.  Robie  in  charge, 
and  he  now  proved  himself  equal  to  the  emergency.   With  a  second 


class  fireman  named  Kiehards,  who  volunteered  to  stay  below  i 
him,  he  put  on  the  bilge  injection  and  for  two  or  three  hours  si 
over  it,  almost  submerged  in  water,  keeping  the  mouth  of  the  ] 
clear  and  opening  or  closing  the  valves  as  required,  while  the 
man  attended  to  the  fires.  Captain  Drayton  waded  into  the 
room  during  this  time  and  gave  the  not  very  cheering  informa 
that  the  Monitor  had  just  gone  down.  Eventually  the  pump  gai 
on  the  water  and  confidence  was  restored.  The  story  of  Mr.  Kol 
heroism  is  more  fully  set  forth  in  the  following  affidavit  mad< 
the  surgeon  of  the  vessel: 

"Newark,  N.  J.,  May  1st.,  1890. 

''To  whom  in  the  interest  of  patriotism  and  justice  it  may  ( 
cern,  be  it  known  that  I,  Edgar  Holden,  formerly  Surgeon  of 
monitor  Passaic,  actuated  by  a  desire  to  see  atonement  made  1 
great  government  for  the  unmerited  neglect  of  a  brave  f ellow-offi 
to  whose  heroism  and  fortitude  were  due  the  safety  of  the  mon 
J?assaie,  and  through  this  the  consummation  of  the  plan  for  pla< 
jfhe  monitor  ironclads  in  southern  waters  during  the  late  war. 
certify  to  the  following  facts;  said  facts  being  not  matters  of  men 
but  drawn  from  notes  made  at  the  time  in  my  private  journal 
in  large  part  published  in  the  year  1863  in  Harpers  Monthly  1 
azine,  October,  1863. 

"To- wit:  That  when  in  that  awful  night  in  which  the  orig 
Monitor  was  lost,  officers  and  men  had  toiled  for  hours  at  the  se 
ingly  hopeless  task  of  throwing  overboard  shot  and  shell  and  bai 
the  sinking  ironclad  with  buckets  passed  from  hand  to  hand, 
when  from  exhaustion  and  despair  we  fell  at   times  to  rise  a 
to     the     futile    task,    and     when    from    the    engine-room    c 
the  report  that  one  after  another  the  pumps  had  given  out,  and 
the  water  was  knee  deep  in  the  fire-room,  swashing  against  the 
bars  with  every  lurch  of  the  ship,  and  when  finally  the  report  c 
'the   last  pump  has  failed'  and  we  threw  down  our  buckets  to 
that  Assistant  Engineer  H.W.Kobie  stood  alone  at  his  post  and 
ceeded  in  starting  the  pumps  known  as  the  bilge  injections, 
frequently  submerged  to  the  neck  in  water,  worked  the  valves 
his  hands,  his  head  held  by  myself  or  his  fireman,  while  the 
seemed  puerile  to  the  despairing  men  on  deck.       That  he  stood 


hours  under  the  platform  around  the  engines  to  prevent  the  entrance 
of  chips  and  floating  debris  from  entering  and  clogging  the  valves 
which  were  without  the  usual  strainers.  That  these  pumps  were  the 
only  ones  that  could  be  so  cleared,  the  others  having  suction  pipes 
passing  in  some  way  that  I  have  forgotten  through  an  iron  bulkhead 
and  making  it  impossible  to  free  them.  That  Mr.  Kobie  thus  stood 
at  his  post  after  all  but  one  fireman  had  left  the  engine  rooms.  That 
further  it  was  my  conviction,  as  well  as  that  of  all  who  knew  at  the 
time  of  his  heroism,  that  to  his  fidelity  alone  was  due  the  safety  of 
the  Passaic. 

"And  I  would  further  certify  that  only  of  late  have  I  been 
made  aware  that  this  unsurpassed  devotion  to  duty  has  never  been 
acknowledged  by  the  Navy  Department  or  the  Government,  and 
that  the  facts  were  not  made  known  at  the  time,  probably  through  a 
patriotic  desire  to  conceal  the  bad  sea-going  qualities  of  the  monitors, 
and  were  certainly  omitted  from  my  published  journal  solely  on  this 

' '  I  would  further  state  that  this  gallant  officer  is,  as  I  am  cred- 
ibly informed,  ill  and  in  straitened  circumstances,  and  that  any  ac- 
tion tending  to  show  a  just  appreciation  of  his  invaluable  services 
should  be  taken  promptly. 


"Edgae  Holden,  M.  D.,  Ph.  D. 
"Medical  Director  Mutual  Benefit  Life  Insurance  Co.,  Fellow 
and  Vice  President  American  Laryngological  Society, 
Member  American  Medical  Association,  etc.,  etc.;  for- 
merly Assistant  Surgeon  U.  S.  N." 

"  Personally  appeared  before  me  this  2d  day  of  May,  1890, 
Dr.  Edgar  Holden,  of  the  city  of  Newark  and  county  of  Essex, 
known  to  me  to  be  a  physician  and  surgeon  in  good  standing,  for 
merly  an  officer  of  the  United  States  Navy,  who  certifies  that  the 
above  statements  are  just  and  true. 

"F.   K.  Howell,  Notary  Public,  N.  J." 

Heroism  and  devotion  to  duty  of  the  order  described  have  won 
promotion  and  reward  in  innumerable  instances  where  the  degree 
was  less  than  in  this  case,  but  there  is  no  record  of  Mr.  Robie  hav- 


ing  received  either  for  his  signal  services.  One  considerable  rec 
nition  which  he  did  receive,  and  which  he  said  well  repaid  him 
his  experience,  occurred  shortly  before  the  battle  in  Mobile  B 
when  Captain  Drayton  introduced  him  to  Admiral  Farragut  v< 
the  remark,  ' '  Mr.  Eobie  saved  the  Passaic  the  night  the  Mom 
was  lost." 


11  When  the  temple  at  Jerusalem  was  completed,  King  Solomon  gave  a  feast  to 
the  artificers  employed  in  its  construction.  On  unveiling  the  throne  it  was  found  that 
a  blacksmith  had  usurped  the  seat  of  honor  on  the  right  of  the  king's  place,  not  yet 
awarded.  Whereupon  the  people  clamored  and  the  guard  rushed  to  cut  him  down. 
•  Let  him  speak  ! '  commanded  Solomon.  '  Thou  hast,  O  King,  invited  all  craftsmen 
but  me,  yet  how  could  these  builders  have  raised  the  temple  without  the  tools  I  fash- 
ioned ? '  'True,'  decreed  Solomon,  '  the  seat  is  his  of  right.  All  honor  to  the  iron- 
worker.' " — Jewish  Legend. 

1862 — The  Civil  War,  Continued— Increase  of  the  Navy — Steamers  Purchased 
Mississippi  Flotilla  Transferred  to  the  Navy  Department — Steam  Ves- 
sels of  War  Placed  Under  Construction — The  Passaic  Class  of  Monitors 
— The  Dictator  and  Pobitan — The  Miantonomoh  Class — Other  Moni- 
tors— The  Keokuk — The  Dunderberq — Legislation  Regarding  the  Navy 
— RetiredXist  Established — Creation  of  the  Bureau  of  Steam  Engineer- 
ing— Pensions. 

DUEING-  1862  the  naval  force  both  in  ships  and  men  was  largly 
increased.  About  fifty  steamers  from  the  merchant  service  were 
bought  during  the  year  and  converted  into  armed  vessels,  and  a  sim- 
ilar number  of  vessels  was  added  to  the  naval  establishment  by  the 
transfer  of  the  Mississippi  flotilla  in  July  from  the  army  and  by  the 
transfer  of  some  revenue  cutters  from  the  Treasury  Department.  Sev- 
eral vessels  captured  from  the  enemy  in  action,  or  while  attemptiug 
to  run  the  blockade,  were  found  suitable  for  use  as  war  steamers, 
prominent  among  these  being  the  powerful  iron-clad  ram  Tennessee 
captured  at  New  Orleans  while  still  unfinished,  and  the  steamer  East- 
port  taken  by  Lieutenant  Phelps  in  the  Tennessee  River. 

This  year  witnessed  a  remarkable  awakening  of  public  interest 
in  naval  ship  construction;  an  interest  that  took  the  form  of  practic- 
ally dictating  to  the  Navy  Department  the  types  of  war  ships  the 
country  needed,  and  was  so  powerful  that  it  entirely  overcame 
and  consigned  to  the  background  the  practices  and  prejudices  which 
had  long  been  fundamental  in  the  naval  service  relative  to  the  same 
subject.  As  a  result  all  the  old  theories  based  upon  the  supposed 
unreliability  of  steam,  the  alleged  necessity  for  sail-power  on  war- 


vessels,  and  the  doubted  utility  of  iron  as  a  material  for  ship  cons 
tion,  were  cast  aside,  and  with  the  prestige  resulting  from  the 
formance  of  the  Monitor  and  the  failure  of  the  old  type  of  shi 
Hampton  Roads  the  engineer  was  allowed  free  scope  to  develo; 
ideas  and  build  ships  embodying  them.  It  was,  in  fact,  one  of  t 
occasions  which  recur  from  time  to  time  when  society  is  force 
unusual  circumstances  to  admit  its  dependence  upon  the  iron-woi 
and  in  its  distress  to  fall  before  him  humbly  begging  for  sui 
The  result  of  all  this  was  that  the  greater  part  of  the  constru 
activity  of  the  year  was  devoted  to  the  building  of  engineers' 
ships, — mastless  vessels  dependent  entirely  upon  steam  and  m 
with  iron. 

If  public  opinion  sustained  and  demanded  this  revolutic 
naval  architecture,  the  same  cannot  be  said  of  naval  opii 
With  the  exception  of  engineers,  who  saw  in  the  change  a  devi 
ment  of  their  own  specialty,  the  general  sentiment  of  the  nav 
exhibited  by  a  multitude  of  letters,  reports  and  opinions,  all  i 
of  public  knowledge  through  the  medium  of  Navy  Depart] 
and  Congressional  publications,  appears  to  have  been  one  of 
trust,  if  not  positive  opposition  to  the  new  development.  Tht 
was  that  the  engineer  corps,  with  a  few  prominent  exceptioj 
other  branches  of  the  service,  had  to  bear  the  brunt  of  inces 
attacks  upon  the  probable  utility  of  the  new  class  of  vessel 
strife  that  was  well  maintained  against  great  odds  at  first 
finally  terminated  in  an  historical  controversy  between  a  pj 
inent  representative  of  each  naval  faction,  from  which  controv 
the  engineer  and  the  principles  championed  by  him  emerged 
nally  victorious. 

It  is  unnecessary  to  introduce  any  of  the  opinions  of  th< 
school  naval  officers,  breathing  hostility  to  the  engineers'  si 
for  a  proper  respect  for  the  intelligence  and  patriotism  of 
officers  of  our  navy  as  a  class  is  sufficient  warrant  that  sue 
those  opinions  as  have  been  preserved  are  not  indicative  of  th« 
lief  of  the  whole  service.  That  belief,  however,  while  not  acti 
hostile,  was  far  from  being  favorable,  and  cannot  be  more  truth: 
presented  than  by  quoting  from  an  opinion  respecting  iron-clads 
mitted  to  the  Navy  Department  in  February,  1864,byRear  Admir 
M.  Goldsborough,  an  officer  of  more  than  fifty  years  service,  of  g 


prominence  and  recognized  professional  ability,  and  as  progressive 
and  liberal-minded  a  representative  of  this  class  as  could  well  be 

' '  Their  absolute  worth,  however,  in  these  particulars,  (offensive 
and  defensive  properties),  I  cannot  regard  as  entitled  to  the  extrav- 
agant merit  claimed  for  it,  induced,  I  apprehend,  in  a  great  measure 
by  conclusions  drawn  from  the  encounters  of  the  first  Monitor  and 
Weehawken  with  the  Merrimack  and  Atlanta,  without  a  sufficient 
knowledge  of  the  facts  attending  them,  and  without  any  (or  more 
than  an  unwilling)  reference  to  the  case  s  of  opposite  results,  as,  for 
instance,  the  Ogeechee,and  the  repeated  displays  before  Charleston. 
That  the  charm  of  novelty  in  construction,  or  quaintness  in  appear- 
ance, had  anything  to  do  with  the  matter,  I  will  not  undertake  to 
assert,  although  I  may,  perhaps,  be  allowed  to  indulge  suspicion  as 
to  probable  effect.  Popular  opinion  is  not  always  right  on  such  sub- 
jects, nor  do  I  know  that  it  is  apt  to  be  when  it  runs  counter  to  pop- 
ular naval  opinion.  At  any  rate,  I  do  know  that  the  latter  is  not 
likely  to  be  very  wrong  in  relation  to  professional  matters  of  the 

Before  the  original  Monitor  was  launched,  Secretary  Welles 
had  become  convinced  of  the  extraordinary  merits  of  that  type  of 
fighting  ship,  and  in  his  annual  report,  in  December,  1861,  he  rec- 
ommended the  immediate  construction  of  twenty  iron-clad  steamers. 
The  House  of  Kepiesentatives  acted  quickly  on  this  recommendation 
and  passed  a  bill  authorizing  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  to  cause  to 
be  constructed  not  exceeding  twenty-one  iron-clad  steam  gunboats. 
The  Senate,  more  conservative,  delayed  action  on  the  bill  until  Feb- 
ruary, when  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  forseeing  that  the  country 
would  suffer  from  longer  inaction,  addressed  the  chairman  of  the 
Senate  naval  committee  on  the  subject,  with  the  result  that  the  bill 
was  soon  passed .  In  its  final  form  it  authorized  the  Navy  Depart- 
ment to  expend  $10,000,000  for  armored  vessels,  and  this  appro- 
priation was  greatly  augmented  by  subsequent  legislation. 

Under  date  of  March  31,  the  Department  entered  into  contract 
with  John  Ericsson  for  the  construction,  hull  and  machinery  com- 
plete, of  six  single-turreted  monitors,  slightly  larger  than  his  first 
vessel  and  possessing  improvements  that  experience  had  shown  to 


be  desirable.  Chief  among  the  changes  was  the  locating  of  the 
pilot  house  on  top  of  the  turret,  and  the  installation  of  a  permanent 
smoke-pipe.  Chief  Engineer  Alban  C.  Stimers  was  detailed  as  gen- 
eral superintendent  of  the  building  of  these  vessels.  Encouraged  by 
his  happy  selection  of  the  name  of  the  Monitor,  Ericsson  proceeded 
to  name  these  six,  Impenetrable,  Penetrator,  Paradox,  Qawvtlet,  Palla- 
dium, and  Agitator,  but  the  Department  very  properly  disapproved 
of  these  polysyllables  and  gave  the  vessels  good  American  names— 
Passaic,  Montauk,  Catskill,  Patapsco,  Lehigh,  and  Sangamon, — under 
which  they  did  the  state  good  service  and  with  which  four  of  them 
are  still  on  the  navy  list,  and  a  fifth,  the  Sangamon  with  her  name 
changed  to  Jason,  also  remains  with  us.  The  Patapsco  was 
lost  in  January,  1865.  Besides  these  six,  there  were  four  others  of 
the  Passaic  class,  built  by  other  contractors  from  Ericsson's  general 
designs,  these  being  the  Nantucket,  built  by  the  Atlantic  Works,  Bos- 
ton; the  Nahant,  by  Harrison  Loring,  Boston;  the  Weehawken,  byZ. 
and  F.  Secor,  New  York,  and  the  Camanche.  The  contract  for  this 
last  vessel  was  given  to  Donahue,  Ryan  &  Secor  of  San  Francisco, 
-Cal.  and  the  actual  work  of  building  the  ship  was  done  at  the  ship 
yard  of  the  Secor  brothers  in  Jersey  City:  when  the  different  parts 
were  all  completed  a  sailing  ship, the  Aquila,wa,s  freighted  with  them 
and  proceeded  to  San  Francisco  by  way  of  Cape  Horn,  having  the 
misfortune  to  sink  at  the  dock  soon  after  arriving  at  her  destination. 
After  these  delays,  the  Camanche  did  not  appear  as  a  completed 
monitor  until  1865.  There  is  perhaps  no  more  eloquent  tribute  to 
the  genius  of  John  Ericsson  than  the  fact  that  of  the  thirteen  single 
turreted  monitors  that  remain  in  our  navy  as  the  survivors  of  the 
many  vessels  of  that  type  built  during  the  war,  eight  are  members 
of  the  original  ten  of  the  Passaic  class. 

On  the  28th  of  July  a  contract  was  made  with  Ericsson  for  two  large 
and  high-powered  monitors,  which  he  named  Puritan  and  Protector, 
the  first  name  being  accepted  by  the  Department  and  the  second 
changed  to  Dictator.  The  following  table  exhibits  the  main  features 
of  the  Ericsson  monitors  of  1862  compared  with  the  original  Monitor, 
the  data  given  being  with  reference  to  the  vessels  as  actually  built 
and  not  according  to  their  dimensions  as  altered  by  subsequent  re- 
building or  repairs.  The  table  is  from  Church's  Life  of  John 

i-T    ° 

a  «a 

3    g 

o      ft 



ft   * 
2    ™ 

T3    'rt 




33    ffl 






a  -w 



5     **-" 

a>     5 











•H      o 

O     ^ 
O     CO 








M     a) 




0)      of 


^-<       CD 


.-      k 


$     o 


§     -? 



o     o 

■§.  a 


em       H 
5      c3 


ft.  A 

S   -c 



"=3     £P 

'ft     fe 

H     M 









Contract  price,  each 

Extreme  length,  feet 

Extreme  breadth,  feet 

Depth  of  hold,  feet 

Draft  of  water,  feet 

Diam.  of  turret,  inside,  feet 

Thickness  of  armor,  inches 

Diameter  of  propellers,  feet 

Diam.  steam  cylinders,  inches 

Length  of  stroke,  inches 

Side  armor,  inches 

Weight  of  guns,  pounds 

Coal  capacity,  tons 

Displacement,  tons 


Midship  section,  square  feet... 






Passaic  & 
class  6. 

Dictator  and 












312  and  340 
21  J* 
84,000  and 
300  and  1,000 
4,438  and 
3,033  and 

The  story  of  the  troubles  and  delays  experienced  in  the  building 
of  the  two  large  monitors  is  too  long  to  go  into.  Ericsson  was 
much  hampered  and  annoyed  by  the  numerous  changes  in  his  de- 
signs forced  upon  him  by  the  Department  acting  on  the  advice  of 
naval  officers  with  and  without  experience  in  monitors.  One  con- 
siderable modification  in  the  Dictator  was  in  dispensing  with  the 
forward  overhang  of  the  upper  hull,  which  Ericsson  regarded  as  an 
essential  as  it  afforded  a  perfect  protection  to  the  anchors  when  under 
fire.  Officers  in  command  of  the  smaller  monitors  while  the  Dicta- 
tor was  building  generally  condemned  that  feature  and  believed  it 
had  been  the  cause  of  the  loss  of  the  Monitor,  their  opinions  ultim- 
ately leading  to  the  modification  referred  to.  "When  the  Dictator 
went  into  service  at  the  end  of  1864  her  commander,  Captain  John 
Kodgers,  complained  of  the  absence  of  the  forward  overhang,  which 
complaint  angered  Ericsson  on  account  of  the  source  of  the  influence 
that  had  forced  him  to  make  the  change.  Writing  to  the  Secretary 
of  the  JSTavy  regarding  the  criticisms  to  which  the  monitors  were 
subjected  by  the  commander  of  one  of  them,  he  said:  "I 
trust  that  neither  he  nor  the  officers  of  the  turret  vessels, 
all  of  whom  are  admitted  to  be  as  skilful  in  their  profession  as 
they  are  brave,  will  take  offense  at  my  remarks.  I  have  only  the 
single  object  in  view — the  triumph  of  the  service  which  their  skill 


and  valor  has  raised  so  high  in  the  public  estimation.  1  beg,  ear- 
nestly, however,  to  call  their  attention  to  the  fact  that  they  have 
entered  on  a  new  era,  and  that  they  are  handling  not  ships,  but 
floating  machines,  and  that,  however  eminent  their  seamanship, 
they  cannot  afford  to  disregard  the  advice  of  the  engineer." 

With  all  his  engineering  ability,  Ericsson  made  some  mistakes 
himself  right  in  the  line  of  his  own  profession,  and  as  he  was  so 
stubborn  by  nature  and  so  confident  of  his  own  powers  his  errors 
were  seldom  corrected  until  too  late,  for  he  would  take  advice  of  no 
man.  Chief  Engineer  E.  D.  Eobie,  U.  S.  Navy,  was  the  naval 
superintendent  of  the  construction  of  the  Dictator,  and,  without 
claiming  to  be  a  genius  or  a  remarkable  inventor,  he  was  a  better 
marine  engineer  than  Ericsson,  for  he  had  the  invaluable  knowledge 
gained  by  long  experience  with  engines  at  sea  which  Ericsson 
lacked,  and  without  which  no  engineer,  no  matter  how  accom- 
plished, can  intelligently  design  marine  engines.  Several  faults  in 
design  were  pointed  out  by  Mr.  Kobie,  who  knew  to  a  certainty 
that  they  would  result  in  trouble  at  sea,  but  Ericsson  would  listen 
to  nothing,  his  favorite  reply  to  these  suggestions,  which  was  both 
egotistical  and  incorrect,  being  that  he  had  built  successful  engines 
before  Eobie  was  born. 

One  fault  alone  which  Ericsson  scorned  to  recognize  resulted 
in  defeating  the  hopes  of  the  Department  regarding  the  first  opera- 
tions of  the  Dictator.  Her  main  shaft  was  nineteen  inches  in  dia- 
meter, an  enormous  size  even  for  this  day,  and  the  main  bearings 
as  designed  were  disproportionately  short  for  the  size  of  the  shaft 
they  were  to  support.  This  was  strenuously  objected  to  by  Robie, 
but  without  avail,  and  the  result  was  that  when  the  Dictator  started 
to  join  the  fleet  for  the  first  assault  on  Fort  Fisher,  her  first  employ 
ment,  the  bearings  wore  down  three-eighths  of  an  inch  in  going 
twenty  miles  and  the  shaft  became  so  loose  as  to  endanger  the  ship. 
Upon  Chief  Engineer  Robie's  report,  she  was  turned  back  to  port, 
and  for  many  weeks  she  had  to  lie  idle  under  Robie's  charge  while 
he  had  longer  brasses  made  and  brackets  fitted  to  support  them. 
This  was  a  most  lamentable  failure  when  the  Department  was  ex- 
pecting bo  much  of  the  ship,  and  Ericsson  afterward  admitted  in 
conversation  with  Mr.  Robie  that  for  once  he  had  made  a  mistake 
in  not  listening  to  the  opinions  of  another  engineer. 




































3  * 


CO  +a 

oo  £ 

1— <  « 

■s  I 

o  — - 






Against  Ericsson's  wishes  the  Puritan  was  provided  with  twin 
screws,  and  it  was  also  directed  that  she  be  fitted  with  two  turrets  ; 
to  this  latter  modification  of  his  plan  Ericsson  vehemently  objected, 
and  finally  arranged  a  compromise  of  one  hnge  turret  to  mount  two 
twenty-inch  guns,  but  these  changes  and  counter  changes  amounted 
to  nothing,  for  the  end  of  the  war  found  the  Puritan  still  unfinished. 
The  Yvrginius  excitement  in  1874  induced  the  Navy  Department 
to  take  steps  towards  her  completion,  but  she  cannot  be  said  to  be 
finished  yet,  for  now  (1896)  the  work  of  converting  her  into  a  coast 
defense  battle-ship  is  still  going  forward.  Very  little  of  Ericsson's 
ship  remains  in  the  new  Puritan.  The  Dictator  was  put  in  service 
and  sent  to  Key  West  at  the  time  of  the  Ywgvnius  affair  and  proved 
to  be  an  excellent  sea  boat,  but  very  expensive  to  operate.  In  1883 
she  was  sold  to  A.  Purves  &  Son  of  Philadelphia  for  $40,250,  the 
government  having  expended  up  to  that  time  about  $260,000  for 
her  preservation  and  repair,  in  addition  to  her  original  cost. 

Besides  the  twelve  Ericsson  monitors  already  referred  to, 
twenty-eight  other  armored  vessels,  the  majority  of  which  were  of  the 
monitor  type,  were  placed  under  construction  during  the  year.  Four 
of  these  were  large  double-turreted  vessels  designed  to  carry  four 
XT-inch  guns  each  and  were  undertaken  by  the  government  at  the 
navy  yards  as  follows:  Miantonom&h  at  Hew  York;  Toncwanda 
(afterward  Amphitrite)  at  Philadelphia;  Monadnock  at  Boston,  and 
Agamenticus  (Terror)  at  Battery,  Maine.  Machinery  for  these  vessels 
was  contracted  for  with  various  builders  in  New  York  and  Philadel- 
phia, that  for  the  first  two  named  being  designed  by  Engineer-in- 
Chief  Isherwood  and  that  for  the  other  two  by  John  Ericsson.  The 
turrets,  side  armor,  deck  plating,  stringers,  etc.  were  obtained  by 
contract  with  different  iron  manufacturers.  The  Onondaga^  also 
two-turreted,  was  contracted  for,  hull  and  machinery  complete,  with 
George  Quintard  of  New  York  and  was  built  for  him  by  T.  F.  Kow- 
land  at  the  Continental  Iron  Works,  Greenpoint.  Four  other  two- 
turreted  monitors  were  placed  under  construction  in  the  Mississippi 
Valley,  the  contracts  for  them,  dated  May  27th,  being  with  the 
following  builders:  Thomas  G.  Gaylord,  Cincinnati,  Ohio,  for  the 
Chickasaw,  G.  B.  Allen  &  Co.,  St.  Louis,  for  the  Kickapoo;  James 
B.  Edes,  St.  Louis,  for  the  Milwaukee  and  Winnebago.  These  west- 
ern craft  were  modifications  of  Ericsson's  monitor,  their  decks  in- 


stead  of  being  flat  were  so  much  crowned  that  they  were  known  as 
"  turtle-backs, "  and  the  guns  were  mounted  in  turrets  built  from 
Edes'  designs  on  the  disappearing  principle. 

In  September,  nine  single-turret  monitors,  somewhat  larger  than 
the  Passaic  class  were  contracted  for  as  follows:  With  Harrison 
Loring,  Boston,  for  the  Oanonicus;  Swift,  Evans  &  Co.,  Cincinnati, 
for  the  Catawba  and  Oneota;  Z.  &  F.  Secor,  New  York,  for  the 
Mahopac,  Manhattan  and  Tecumseh;  Albert  G.  Mann,  Pittsburgh, 
for  the  Manayunk;  Harlan  &  Hollingsworth,  Wilmington,  Delaware, 
for  the  Samgus,  and  MileB  Greenwood,  Cincinnati,  for  the  Tippecanoe. 
Two  very  small  single-turret  vessels, the  Marietta  and  Sandusky, were 
contracted  for  May  16th  with  Hartupee  &  Co.,  Pittsburgh,  and 
during  the  same  month  contracts  were  signed  with  James  B.  Edes, 
St.  Louis,  for  the  Neosho  and  Osage,  having  one  turret  and  recessed 
stern  wheels,  and  with  George  C.  Bestor,  Peoria,  111. ,  for  a  similar 
vessel,  the  Ozark.  Joseph  Brown  of  St.  Louis  by  contracts  signed 
May  30th,  built  three  small  iron-plated  casemate  vessels  named 
Chilicothe,  Tuscumbia  and  Indianola.  These  vessels  had  side  wheels 
far  aft  working  independently  to  facilitate  turning  in  close  quarters, 
and  had  also  twin  screw  propellers. 

One  or  two  novel  plans  for  armored  war-vessels  were  accepted 
during  the  year  as  the  aftermath  of  the  crop  of  designs  submitted  to 
the  iron-clad  board  of  1861.  One  remarkable  vessel  originating  in 
this  manner  was  the  Keokuk,  built  the  terms  of  the  con- 
tract made  with  Charles  W.  Whitney  of  New  York  on  the  25th  of 
March.  This  contract  called  for  an  iron-plated,  shot-proof  steam 
battery,  159  feet  long,  36  feet  beam,  13  feet  6  inches  depth  of  hold, 
to  carry  two  Xl-inch  guns  mounted  in  towers.  Low-pressure  con- 
densing engines  capable  of  driving  the  vessel  ten  knots  per  hour  for 
twelve  consecutive  hours  were  specified.  The  contract  price  was 
$220,000.  The  peculiar  feature  of  the  Keokuk  was  in  the  disposi- 
tion of  armor,  the  sides  being  built  of  alternate  horizontal  strata  of 
wooden  timbers  and  iron  bars,  each  layer  being  about  five  inches 
wide.  Like  the  Galena,  this  conception  came  to  grief  when  sub- 
jected to  the  fire  of  the  enemy,  and  in  worse  degree;  for  she  sank 
from  the  effects  of  the  puncturing  she  received,  as  will  be  related  in 
a  subsequent  chapter  regarding  naval  operations  off  Charleston. 

Another  iron-clad  of  quite  different  type  was  the  Dunderberg, 

to        => 

!  £ 

O        IS 










contracted  for  with  W.  H.  Webb  of  New  York  city,  July  3rd,  1862. 
This  vessel,  described  as  an  "ocean-going  iron-clad  frigate  ram," 
was  a  remarkable  step  in  advance  of  the  war-ship  construction  of  the 
time,  but  was  not  put  to  the  test  of  battle  as  her  great  size  and  huge 
pieces  of  iron  work  to  be  made  so  delayed  her  building  that  she  was 
not  launched  until  July  22,  1865.  The  tendency  in  armored  ship 
construction  after  the  affair  of  the  Monitor  and  Merrimao  was  to 
accept  Ericsson's  circular  turret  as  the  proper  protection  for  guns, 
and  this  plan,  modified  and  improved  by  changing  conditions  and 
better  appliances  for  perfecting  mechanical  work,  still  remains  and 
may  be  seen  in  one  form  or  another  in  almost  every  armored  vessel 
of  the  present  day.  The  Dwnderberg,  however,  departed  most 
radically  from  the  favorite  practice  of  her  year,  and  instead  of  the 
features  of  the  Monitor  her  construction  presented  an  almost  faithful 
reproduction,  in  a  greatly  improved  form,  of  the  general  character- 
istics of  the  Merrvmac.  That  is,  she  consisted  essentially  of  a  low 
hull  surmounted  with  a  sloping-sided  armored  casemate  protecting  a 
very  heavy  battery.  Great  engine  power,  calculated  to  give  a  sea 
speed  of  fifteen  knots  an  hour,  and  an  enormous  ram  fifty  feet  long 
were  important  factors  in  her  war-like  make  up.  The  hull,  of  un- 
usually heavy  timbers,  was  built  in  Mr.  Webb's  shipyard,  foot  of 
Sixth  Street,  East  River,  and  the  machinery  was  built  by  John  Roach 
&  Son  at  the  Etna  Iron  Works  near  by.  Chief  Engineer  Wm.  W. 
W.  Wood,  IT.  S.  Navy,  was  the  general  Superintendent  of  construc- 
tion and  Second  Assistant  Engineer  Wilson  K.  Purse  was  the  resident 
inspector  at  the  Etna  Iron  Works.  The  contract  price  for  the  vessel 
complete  was  $1,250,000. 

The  following  table  exhibits  the  general  dimensions  of  the  ship 
and  machinery,  and  shows  her  to  have  been  an  unusually  huge  craft 
f©r  her  day. 

Extreme  length 380  feet  4  inches. 

Extreme  beam 72    "    10      " 

Depth  of  main  hold 22    "      7       " 

Height  of  casemate 7    "      9       " 

Length  of  ram 50     " 

Draft  when  fully  equipped  for  sea 21     " 

Displacement 7,000  ton§. 

Tonnage 5,090    " 

Weight  of  iron  armor , , J.,000    '» 

'■■  ..    


Diameter  o£  steam  cylinders  (two) 100  inches. 

Stroke  of  pistons 45      " 

Boilers — Six  main  and  two  auxiliary. 

Depth  of  boilers 13  feet. 

Height  of  boilers _ 17  feet  6  inches. 

Front  width  of  boilers,  each 21   "   5      " 

Weight  of  boilers 450  tons. 

Total  heating  surface 30,000  square  feet 

Grate  surface 1,200      "        " 

Cooling  surface  in  condensers 12,000      "        " 

Diameter  of  screw  propeller 21  feet. 

Pitch  of  propeller 27  to  30   " 

Weight  of  propeller 34,580  pounds. 

Capacity  of  coal  bunkers 1,000  tons. 

Horse-power  of  main  engines 5,000 

This  "Thundering  Mountain"  of  the  navy,  as  her  size  and 
armament  as  well  as  the  translation  of  her  name  caused  her  to  be 
called,  embraced  a  number  of  features  in  construction  now  regarded 
as  essential  but  which  in  1862-3  were  thought  unimportant  or  were 
almost  unheard  of.  She  had  a  double  bottom,  collision 
bulkheads,  and  a  system  of  transverse  longitudinal  and 
water-tight  bulkheads  extending  up  to  the  spar  deck.  The 
engine  and  boiler  spaces  were  entirely  enclosed  with  water- 
tight bulkheads.  Her  air  and  circulating  pumps  were 
independent  of  the  main  engines  and  she  had  also  a  pair  of 
independent  wrecking  pumps.  The  smoke-pipe,  thirteen  feet  in 
diameter,  had  armor  gratings  fitted  inside  it,  as  is  now  universally 
practiced,  to  prevent  injury  to  the  boilers  by  grenades  or  heavy 
debris.  The  engines  were  horizontal  back-acting  in  arrangement, 
designed  to  run  at  an  ordinary  speed  of  sixty  revolutions  per  minute, 
with  intention  to  work  up  to  eighty  revolutions  for  full  power.  The 
main  shaft  was  118  feet  long  and  18  inches  in  diameter,  and  was  sup- 
ported by  bearings  40  inches  long  cored  for  water  circulation  The 
air  and  circulating  pumps  each  had  two  steam  cylinders  36"x36", 
which  in  themselves  were  engines  nearly  as  large  as  the  propelling 
engines  of  the  Ckmandwigua  class  of  sloops  of  war. 

Not  being  completed  until  after  the  Civil  War  was  over,  the 
naval  authorities  had  no  desire  to  receive  this  splendid  specimen  of 
war- ship  into  the  service,  the  policy  then  being  to  get  rid  of  as 
many  vessels  as  possible  instead  of  adding  to  the  number.     At  Mr. 



Webb's  request  the  vessel  was  released  to  him  under  the  terms  of 
a  special  act  of  Congress  approved  March  2,  1867,  he  refunding  to 
the  government  the  sum  of  $1,092,887.73,  which  had  been  paid  to 
him  on  account.     He   immediately  sold  her  to  the  French  govern- 
ment, and  under  the  name  of  Bochambeau  she  was  for  many  years 
regarded  as  one  of  the  most  formidable  vessels  in  the  navy  of  that 
country.     The  effect  of  the  presence  in  the  French  navy  of  the  Dwn- 
d&rberg  is  still  visible  in  the  exaggerated  ram  bows  and  home-sloping 
top  sides  so  generally  designed  by  French  naval  architects.     Mr. 
Edward  Marsland,  who  had  been  a  first  assistant  engineer  in  the 
navy  during  the  war,  went  across  the  Atlantic  in  the  Ihmderberg  as 
her  chief  engineer  and  found  the  sea-behaviour  of  both   ship  and 
machinery  admirable.     The  same  day  that  Congress  authorized  the 
release  of  the  Dwiderberg  to  Mr.  Webb  another  private  act  was 
passed  releasing  the  Onondaga  to  Mr.   Quintard,  who  refunded  the 
money  he  had  been  paid  and  received  the  vessel,  although  she  had 

Longitudinal  section  of  the  Dunderberg,  showing  backing  of  ram,  arrangement 
of  machinery,  disposition  of  armor,  etc. 

been  completed  and  in  active  service  the  last  eighteen  months  of  the 
war.  She  also  was  sold  to  the  French  and  still  appears  on  the 
navy  list  of  that  country  as  an  armored  coast-defense  turret 

From  the  lesson  of  Hampton  Koads  the  Navy  Department  at- 
tempted one  modification  of  a  war  vessel  that  was  not  especially 
successful.  In  1862  work  was  begun  on  the  frigate  Roanoke  of  cut- 
ting her  down  as  the  Merrimac  had  been,  and  on  the  low  deck  re- 
sulting three  Ericsson  turrets  were  fitted  by  the  Novelty  Iron  Works, 
New  York.  Although  employed  about  a  year  in  the  North  Atlantic 
squadron,  the  modified  Roanoke  was  not  found  satisfactory.     The 







































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great  weight  of  the  three  turrets  made  her  rolling  dangerous  and  the 
hull  was  not  found  to  be  strong  enough  to  properly  carry  them,  the 
thrust  of  the  turret  spindles  on  the  keel  when  the  turrets  were  being 
keyed  up  for  action  always  threatening  to  force  out  the  bottom. 

The  twelve  double-ended  gunboats  begun  in  1861  proved  so 
useful  that  in  the  autumn  of  1862  contracts  were  made  for  twenty- 
seven  others,  considerably  larger  than  the  first  lot.  From  the  name 
of  one  of  these  that  became  especially  famous  they  came  to  be  known 
as  the  Sassacus  class,  their  names  being  as  follows:  Agawam,  Ascut- 
ney,  Chenango,  Chicopee,  Eirtaw,  Iosco,  Lenapee,  Mackinaw,  Massa- 
soit,  Mattabessett,  Mendota,  Metacomet,  Mingoe,  Osceola,  Otsego,  Paw- 
tuxet,  Peoria,  Pontiac,  Pontoosuc,  Sassacus,  Shamrock,  Tacony, 
Tallahoma,  Tallapoosa,  Wateree,  Winooski,  and  Wyalusing.  All 
were  built  of  wood  with  the  exception  of  the  Wateree,  which  was  of 
iron.  Thej  were  all  rated  as  of  974  tons  burden.  One  other  wooden 
vessel  of  this  class — the  Algonquin — was  delayed  on  account  of  con- 
troversy as  to  the  machinery  to  be  fitted  in  her  and  was  not  put 
under  construction  until  March,  1863.  A  few  of  the  hulls  were  built 
at  navy  yards,  but  the  majority  of  them  and  the  machinery  for  all 
were  built  by  contract,  the  engineer-in- chief  furnishing  the  machin- 
ery designs  except  for  the  Algonquin.  The  Sassacus  was  built  at  the 
navy  yard,  Portsmouth,  New  Hampshire,  by  Naval  Constructor 
Jsaiah  Hanscom,  and  her  machinery  by  the  Atlantic  Works,  Boston. 

Near  the  close  of  the  year  a  class  of  small  screw  sloops,  about  100 
tons  larger  than  the  ninety-day  gunboats,  was  begun  at  navy  yards 
and  contracts  let  for  their  machinery.  These  were  the  Kansas, 
Mawmee,  Nipsia,  Nyack,  Pequot,  Saco,  Shaumut,  and  Yantic.  With 
the  exception  of  the  Kansas  all  were  under  construction  by  the  1st 
of  January,  1863. 

Important  changes  in  naval  organization  and  administration 
were  brought  about  by  Congressional  action  during  the  early  part  of 
of  the  Civil  War.  During  the  special  session  of  the  37th  Congress 
in  the  summer  of  1861,  to  go  a  little  back  of  the  year  with  which 
this  chapter  is  dealing,  an  act,  approved  August  3,  1861,  created  a 
naval  retired  list  by  providing  that  any  officer  of  the  navy  who  had 
been  forty  years  in  the  service  of  the  United  States  might  be  retired 
upon  his  own  application;  the  same  act  provided  that  officers  of  the 
navy  found  incapacitated  for  active  service  by  reason  of  wounds  or 

« /     if 

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other  disability  incurred  in  the  line  of  duty  should  be  placed  on  the 
retired  list,  and  the  officer  next  in  rank  promoted  to  the  place  of  the 
retired  officer  according  to  the  established  rules  of  the  service. 
Early  in  the  first  regular  session  of  the  same  Congress,  an  act,  ap- 
proved December  21,  1861,  made  the  retirement  of  naval  officers 
compulsory  after  forty-five  years'  service,  or  upon  arriving  at  the 
age  of  sixty-two.  A  number  of  old  officers  of  the  line  and  medical 
corps  were  immediately  retired  in  accordance  with  this  legislation, 
and  it  was  due  only  to  the  presence  on  the  active  list  of  these 
superannuated  officers,  unable  to  perform  their  duties  in  time  of  war, 
and  at  the  same  time  deserving  of  all  consideration  for  past  services, 
that  the  navy  received  the  inestimable,  though  deserved,  gift  of  the 
retired  list. 

An  act  to  reorganize  the  Navy  Department  was  approved  July 
5th,  1862,  which  created  the  Bureau  of  Steam  Engineering  as  a  sep- 
arate executive  branch  of  the  department'  and  provided  that  the  chief 
of  that  bureau  should  be  a  skillful  engineer  selected  from  the  list  of 
chief  engineers  of  the  navy.  The  same  act  created  the  present  bureaus 
of  Navigation,  Equipment,  and  Construction,  the  two  last  named 
and  the  bureau  of  steam  engineering  being  obtained  by  dividing  up 
the  old  bureau  of  Construction,  Equipment  and  Eepair,  the  business 
of  which  under  the  demands  of  war  having  grown  to  the  extent  of 
making  its  division  a  business  necessity. 

The  present  schedule  of  pensions  for  disability  incurred  in  the 
naval  service  was  established  by  an  act  of  Congress  approved  July 
16th,  1862.  Other  acts  approved  the  same  day  directed  the  trans- 
fer of  the  western  gunboat  fleet  built  by  the  "War  Department  to  the 
Navy  Department,  and  reorgnized  the  grades  of  line  officers  of  the 
navy;  the  last  act  referred  to  added  the  grades  of  commodore  and 
rear  admiral  to  the  line  establishment  and  created  within  it  the  ad- 
ditional grades  of  lieutenant- commander  and  ensign.  A  new  pay 
table  was  also  established. 


"  When  sorrows  come,  they  come  not  single  spies, 
But  in  battalions." 

— Hamlet;  Act  IV.  sc.  5. 

186a— The  Civil  War  Continued— Disasters  at  Galveston— Loss  of  the  Columbia— 
Raid  of  Rebel  Rams  off  Charleston— Loss  of  the  Isaac  Smith*— The  Florida, 
and  Her  Pursuit  by  the  Sonoma — Investment  of  Washington,  North  Carolina 
— Assembling  oi  Ironclads  off  Charleston— Remarkable  Breakdown  and  Repairs 
to  the  Machinery  of  the  Weehawken — Attack  on  Fort  McAllister— First  Attack 
on  Fort  Sumter — Destruction  of  the  Keokuk — The  AtlantarWeehawken  Duel 
—Protracted  Investment  of  the  Charleston  Forts  by  the  Monitors— Sinking  of 
the  Weehawken. 

NAVAL  operations  during  the  year  1863  were  conducted  on  a 
greater  scale  than  before  and  were  in  the  main  successful, 
the  enemy's  coasts  being  more  rigorously  invested  and  the  lines  of 
the  blockade  made  more  and  more  impassable.  A  number  of  mis- 
fortunes to  vessels  engaged  in  more  or  less  important  undertak- 
ings which  occurred  with  considerable  regularity  from  month  to 
month  served,  however,  in  connection  with  the  first  unfortunate 
demonstration  of  the  ironclads  at  Charleston,  to  distract  public 
attention  from  the  real  service  being  done  by  the  navy  and  to 
give  the  general  impression  that  the  operations  of  that  arm  for 
the  year  were  largely  unsuccessful. 

The  series  of  disasters  to  the  navy  began  the  first  day  of  the 
new  year  with  an  extremely  humiliating  affair  at  Galveston,  Texas. 
That  place  was  in  partial  possession  of  the  Union  forces  and  was 
occupied  by  260  men  of  the  42d  regiment,  Massachusetts  volun- 
teer infantry,  camped  on  a  wharf,  a  blockade  of  the  approaches  to 
the  harbor  being  maintained  to  seaward  by  the  steamers  Westfidd, 
Clifton,  Harriet  Lome,  Owasco,  and  Sachem,  and  the  schooner 
Coryjpheus.  About  3  a.  m.  the  morning  of  January  first  a  large 
force  of  Confederates  appeared  in  the  town  and  made  an  attack 
upon  the  soldiers  on  the  wharf,  the  latter  being  supported  by 
the  fire  from  some  of  the  vessels  lying  nearest  to  them.  At  dawn 
two  large  river  steamers  crowded  with  troops  and  well  protected  by 


barricades  of  cotton  bales  attacked  the  Harriet  Zcme,  or  rather 
were  attacked  by  her,  she  being  under  way  at  the  time  and  moving 
up  into  range  of  the  fight  going  on  ashore,  and  effected  her  capture 
by  boarding  in  overwhelming  numbers.  Her  captain,  Commander 
J.  M.  Wainwright,  and  Lieutenant  Commander  Edward  Lee,  were 
both  killed,  as  were  also  three  enlisted  men,  and  fifteen  people  were 
wounded,  the  survivors  of  the  ship's  company,  amounting  to  about 
one  hundred,  being  made  prisoners  of  war.  The  officers  of  the  en- 
gineer corps  who  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy  on  this  occasion 
were  M.  H.  Plunkett,  second  assistant  engineer;  C.  H.  Stone,  sec- 
ond assistant  engineer;  and  John  E.  Cooper,  K.  N.  Ellis  and 
A.  T.  E.  Mullen,  third  assistant  engineers. 

An  interesting  incident  illustrative  of  considerate  forethought 
under  trying  conditions  is  related  of  Assistant  Engineer  Mullen  on 
this  occasion.  After  Commander  Wainwright  had  been  killed  and 
the  loss  of  the  ship  appeared  inevitable,  Mr.  Mullen  threw  away  his 
own  sword  and  put  on  that  of  the  captain  with  the  hope  of  preserving 
it  for  Wainwright's  relatives;  a  most  generous  undertaking  which  is 
said  to  have  been  successful,  as  it  was  a  custom  on  both  sides  to  re- 
turn side-arms  to  captured  officers  after  their  surrender  was  com- 

The  gunboat  Owasco  went  to  the  relief  of  the  Harriet  Lame 
but  was  driven  off  by  an  incessant  musketry  fire  to  which  she  could 
make  scarcely  any  reply,  the  narrowness  of  the  channel  preventing 
her  from  getting  into  a  position  to  use  her  guns.  She  had  fifteen 
men  killed  and  wounded.  Her  experience  deterred  the  Clifton  from 
making  the  same  attempt  and  that  vessel's  fire  was  accordingly 
directed  against  the  shore  batteries.  The  Westfield,  lying  a  consider- 
able distance  out,  had  got  underway  and  gone  hard  and  fast  aground 
early  in  the  morning  when  the  first  movement  of  the  enemy's  steam- 
ers had  been  observed.  About  7:30  a.  m.  a  Confederate  officer 
bearing  a  flag  of  truce  boarded  the  Clifton  and  informed  her  com- 
mander that  the  Massachusetts  troops  and  the  Harriet  Lane  had  sur- 
rendered and  that  the  steamers,  three  more  of  which  had  appeared, 
were  about  to  move  upon  and  overwhelm  the  Federal  vessels  in 
detail.  As  an  alternative  he  proposed  the  surrender  of  all  the  Federal 
vessels  but  one,  which  would  be  allowed  to  leave  the  harbor  with  tbe 
crews  of  all. 


Lieutenant  Commander  Law  of  the  Clifton  did  not  favor  this 
proposal,  but  agreed  to  carry  it  to  Commander  Kenshaw  of  the  West- 
field,  the  senior  officer  present,  it  being  promised  that  the  flags  of 
truce  should  fly  for  three  hours  to  give  him  time  to  go  and  return. 
Commander  Kenshaw  of  course  refused  to  accept  the  terms  and  or- 
dered Law  back  to  his  ship  with  instructions  to  get  the  vessels  under 
way  and  take  them  out  of  the  harbor  at  all  hazards,  saying  also 
that  as  the  Westfield  could  not  be  floated  he  would  blow  her  up  and 
escape  with  her  crew  in  the  army  transport  Saxon  lying  near  him. 
Finding  upon  his  return  to  the  Clifton,  that  the  enemy  had  made 
many  changes  to  their  advantage  in  the  position  of  their  steamers 
and  batteries,  Law. felt  under  no  obligation  to  observe  the  truce  and 
immediately  got  under  way  with  all  the  vessels  and  went  out  of  the 
harbor  under  a  heavy  fixe,  abandoning  the  blockade  for  the  time 
being  by  going  to  New  Orleans.  Two  barks  laden  with  coal  for  the 
steamers  were  left  behind  and  fell  into  the  enemy's  possession  with 
the  Harriet  Lane. 

Through  some  terrible  blunder  in  firing  the  Westfield  her  maga- 
zine blew  up  before  the  people  were  out  of  her  with  the  result  that 
fourteen  persons  were  killed  and  sixteen  wounded,  among  the  killed 
being  commander  William  B.  Kenshaw;  Lieutenant  C.  W.  Zimmer- 
man, and  Acting  Second  Assistant  Engineer  "William  K.  Greene,  the 
senior  engineer  of  the  ship.  Mr.  Greene  had  acquired  an  excellent 
reputation  for  professional  and  personal  worth  and  his  untimely 
taking  off  was  a  source  of  much  regret  in  the  corps.  In  July  of  the 
previous  year  when  the  Westfield  was  employed  in  the  operations 
about  Vicksburg,  Commander  Kenshaw  had  reported  to  the  Depart- 
ment in  the  following  highly  favorable  terms  regarding  him:  "The 
engineer  in  charge,  Mr.  William  K.  Greene,  with  his  assistants, 
Messrs.  George  S.  Baker  and  Charles  Smith,  have  been  untiring  in 
their  exertions  to  keep  the  engine  in  repair,  and  have  exercised  so 
much  judgment  and  care  that  since  leaving  the  United  States  there 
has  never  been  a  day  that  the  machinery  has  not  been  in  perfect 
working  order." 

The  Confederates  recovered  the  large  main  shaft  of  the  West- 
field  from  the  wreck  and  manufactured  from  it  a  60-pounder  rifled 
gun.  This  in  due  course  of  time  found  its  way  to  the  Annapolis 
Naval  Academy  and  has  rested  in  the  grass  of  the  gun-park  there 
for  many  years  as  a  trophy  of  war. 

I   < 


Immediately  after  the  arrival  of  the  Clifton  at  New  Orleans 
with  the  news  of  the  disaster  at  Galveston,  Admiral  Farragut  sent 
Commodore  Bell  with  the  Brooklyn  and  six  gunboats  to  re-estab- 
lish the  blockade  off  that  port.  The  afternoon  of  January  11th  a 
strange  sail  was  seen  off  Galveston  and  the  iron  steamer  Hatteras, 
Lieutenant  Commander  H.  C.  Blake,  was  sent  in  pursuit.  After 
running  from  the  Hatteras  until  dark,  the  stranger  ceased  steaming 
and  allowed  her  pursuer  to  approach  close  alongside,  replying  to 
the  hail  that  she  was  "  Her  Britannic  Majesty's  ship  Fia^ra. "  The 
Hatteras  lowered  a  boat  to  board  her,  when  she  suddenly  fired  a 
broadside  at  point  blank  range,  accompanying  it  with  the  announce- 
ment that  she  was  the  Confederate  steamer  Alabama.  The  Hat- 
teras returned  the  fire  at  once  and  for  several  minutes  a  sharp  fight 
ensued,  in  which  the  Federal  vessel  was  speedily  disabled.  She 
was  a  commercial  steamer  originally  named  St.  Mary,  purchased 
in  Philadelphia  in  1861  for  $110,000,  and  was  wholly  unfit  for  a 
contest  with  a  regularly  built  vessel  of  war.  Her  overhead  walking 
beam  was  shot  away  immediately  and  another  shot  struck  and  de- 
stroyed the  main  engine  cylinder,  either  of  which  blows  was  suffi- 
cient to  deprive  the  ship  of  her  motive  power  and  prevented  her 
commander  from  carrying  out  his  intention  of  closing  with  the  Ala- 
bama and  boarding  her.  Shells  striking  the  Hatteras  near  the  water 
line  tore  off  whole  sheets  of  iron  and  caused  her  to  fill  as  rapidly  as 
a  perforated  tin  pan.  In  this  fatal  predicament  she  surrendered 
and  her  crew  was  taken  off  by  the  victors,  who  had  barely  time  to 
save  them  before  the  Hatteras  sank.  The  boat's  crew  that  had 
been  called  away  to  board  the  stranger  escaped  and  carried  the  news 
of  the  disaster  to  Galveston. 

In  this  engagement  the  Hatteras  had  two  men,  both  firemen, 
killed  and  five  wounded.  The  prisoners  were  taken  to  Kingston 
Jamaica,  all  except  the  officers  being  kept  in  irons  on  the  voyage  of 
nine  days  to  that  place.  At  Kingston  they  were  put  on  the  beach 
jn  a  most  pitiable  condition  without  money  or  adequate  clothing, 
having  lost  everything  they  owned  in  the  Hatteras.  In  spite  of 
their  unfortunate  condition  the  treatment  accorded  them  by  the 
British  residents  of  Kingston  was  such  as  to  cause  the  following 
comment  to  appear  in  the  report  of  Lieutenant  Commander  Blake: 
<«  Landed  on  an  unfriendly  shore,  in  a  state  of  abject  destitutioHj 


that  should  have  commanded  the  sympathy  of  avowed  enemies,  we 
felt  keenly  the  unkind  criticisms  of  those  who  profess  to  have  no 
dislike  for  our  government  or  its  people. ' '  The  engineers  of  the 
Hdtteras  who  shared  in  the  resulting  hardships  were  Acting  First 
Assistant  A.  M.  Covert,  and  acting  third  assistants  Jos.  0.  Cree, 
Jacob  Colp  and  Benjamin  C.  Bourne. 

On  the  evening  of  the  14th  of  January,  the  steamer  Cohmtbiat 
a  purchased  vessel  attached  to  the  North  Atlantic  Blockading 
Squadron,  while  on  duty  off  Marlboro  Inlet,  North  Carolina,  got 
ashore  on  an  unknown  bar.  The  gunboat  Penobscot  went  to  her  aid 
the  following  day  and  succeeded  in  taking  off  about  thirty  of  her 
crew  by  means  of  a  surf-line,  but  night  coming  on  and  the  sea  in- 
creasing compelled  the  abandonment  of  the  effort  at  rescue.  The 
second  day  the  enemy  mounted  some  guns  on  the  shore  and  opened 
a  heavy  fire  on  the  distressed  vessel,  then  practically  a  wreck, 
which  forced  her  to  surrender;  the  commander,  Acting  Lieutenant 
J.  P.  Couthouy,  with  his  remaining  officers  and  men  going  on  shore 
and  delivering  themselves  up  as  prisoners  of  war  after  having 
spiked  and  thrown  overboard  the  battery.  The  wreck  was  burned 
by  the  captors.  The  officers  all  belonged  to  the  volunteer  service 
and  included  George  M.  Bennett,  first  assistant  engineer  ;  W.  W. 
Shipman  and  Samuel  Lemon,  second  assistants,  and  J.  H.  Pelton 
and  W.  H.  Crawford,  third  assistants.  They  were  confined  first  at 
Salisbury,  North  Carolina,  and  later  in  Libby  prison  until  May  5th, 
when  they  were  sent  north  for  exchange.  The  surgeon,  by  some 
curious  mental  operation  on  the  part  of  the  Confederates,  was  de- 
clared a  "  non-combatant  "  and  was  released  on  parole,  but  it  did 
not  occur  to  anyone  that  the  paymaster  and  engineers  were  entitled 
to  like  consideration.  Perhaps  in  an  actual  state  of  war  there  was 
no  doubt  about  their  military  status. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  January  29th,  the  British  steamer 
Princess  Royal,  from  Halifax  by  way  of  Bermuda,  attempted  to  run 
the  blockade  off  Charleston  and  nearly  succeeded,  being  headed  off 
at  the  last  moment  by  the  gunboat  Unadilla,  whose  shots  forced  the 
captain  of  the  blockade  runner  to  run  his  ship  ashore.  Acting 
Master  Yan  Sice  and  Third  assistant  Engineer  K.  H.  Thurston  with 
two  armed  boat-crews  took  possession  of  the  prize  and  labored  all 
day  of  the  29th  in  lightening  her  preparatory  to  hauling  her  off, 


'which  was  accomplished  about  dark  by  the  combined  efforts  of  her 
own  engines  and  those  of  the  light-draft  vessels  of  the  squadron. 
When  afloat,  the  prize  was  anchored  close  to  the  Housatonic,  acting 
as  flagship  in  the  absence  of  the  Powhatan  and  Canandaigua  gone  to 
Port  Koyal  for  coal,  and  preparations  were  carried  forward  for  send- 
ing her  north  with  a  prize  crew.  The  Princess  Royal  had  a  very 
valuable  cargo  of  rifled  guns  and  marine  engines  for  some  Confed- 
erate rams  building  at  Charleston;  a  great  quantity  of  shoes  for  the 
army,  small  arms,  armor  plates,  medicines,  canned  provisions,  hos- 
pital stores,  etc. ,  all  worth  many  times  their  money  value  to  the 
Confederacy.  When  adjudicated  in  the  prize  court  at  Philadel- 
phia the  sum  of  $342,005.31  was  declared  available  for  distribution, 
shares  of  which  made  some  of  the  officers  of  the  Unadilla  almost 
wealthy.  The  vessel  had  powerful  engines  with  two  cylinders  49 
inches  diameter  and  39  inches  stroke,  geared  to  the  screw  shaft  in 
the  ratio  of  five  to  two.  She  was  converted  into  a  gun  vessel  and 
performed  excellent  duty  on  the  blockade  during  the  remainder  of 
the  war. 

While  the  people  of  the  Unadilla  and  the  fleet  were  exerting 
themselves  to  get  the  Princess  Royal  afloat,  the  Confederates  were 
making  equally  strenuous  efforts  to  prevent  it,  horses  and  men  in 
large  numbers  being  engaged  throughout  the  day  in  dragging  Biege 
guns  from  Fort  Moultrie  through  the  sands  of  Sullivan's  Island  into 
a  position  to  fire  upon  the  stranded  steamer,  but  about  the  time  their 
battery  opened  fire  she  was  floated  and  taken  out  of  range.  Baffled 
in  this  attempt,  they  made  on  the  morning  of  the  31st,  the  Princess 
Royal  still  lying  by  the  Housatonic,  a  most  desperate  effort  to  wrest 
her  from  her  captors.  At  4  a.  m.  two  rams — the  Chicora  and  Pal- 
metto State — came  down  from  Charleston  and  about  daylight  assailed 
the  blockading  squadron,  superior  to  them  in  numbers  in  about  the 
proportion  of  four  to  one.  Without  any  desire  to  detract  from  the 
gallantry  of  this  attack,  it  should  be  stated  that  with  the  exception 
of  the  Housatonic  and  Unadilla  the  blockaders  in  the  vicinity  were 
all  purchased  merchant  vessels  wholly  unfit  for  fighting  at  close 
quarters,  their  unsuitability  being  fully  demonstrated  by  the  event. 

The  Federal  vessels  were  lying  at  wide  intervale  apart,  a  cir- 
cumstance that  further  reduced  the  seeming  disparity  in  force,  and 
owing  to  the  morning  mist  that  lay  over  the  water  did  not  discover 


the  approach  of  the  enemy  until  he  was  close  aboard.  The  first  ves- 
sel attacked  was  the  Mercedita,  a  purchased  screw-steamer  of  about 
800  tons  that  had  cost  $100,000  in  1861.  She  was  struck  a  glanc- 
ing blow  on  the  starboard  quarter  by  one  of  the  rams  and  at  the 
same  time  was  disabled  by  a  heavy  rifle  shell  which  passed  diagonally 
through  her,  penetrating  the  steam  drum  of  the  port  boiler  in  its 
passage  and  filling  the  ship  with  hot  steam.  The  ram  lay  so  low  in 
the  water  that  the  guns  of  the  Mercedita  could  not  be  depressed  to 
bear  upon  her  and  the  latter  vessel,  being  thus  both  helpless  and  de- 
fenseless, accepted  the  summons  to  surrender,  the  executive  officer 
going  on  board  the  ram  and  pledging  his  word  of  honor  for  the  pa- 
role of  the  crew.  Nothing  was  said  regarding  the  vessel  and  as  she 
was  not  taken  possession  of  by  the  enemy  she  was  retained  in  the 
squadron  after  the  fight  was  over.  Her  gunner,  who  was  in  his  room 
at  the  time,  was  killed  by  the  shell,  and  she  had  three  men  killed 
and  three  wounded  by  scalding;  with  the  exception  of  one  ordinary 
seaman  slightly  scalded  at  the  engine-room  hatch  these  unfortunate 
men  all  belonged  to  the  watch  on  duty  in  the  engine-room. 

Leaving  the  Mercedita  to  her  fate,  to  sink  or  not,  the  ram  next 
joined  her  consort  in  an  attack  upon  the  Keystone  State,  a  large  side- 
wheel  merchant  steamer  of  nearly  1,400  tons  that  had  cost  $125,000 
in  1861,  and  did  her  great  damage  with  shells,  one  of  which  set  her 
on  fire  in  the  fore-hold  and  another  exploded  the  steam  chimneys 
or  drums  of  both  boilers.  About  one-fourth  of  her  crew  was  in- 
stantly prostrated  by  the  escaping  steam,  among  them  Assistant 
Surgeon  Gotwold  who  was  scalded  to  death  while  in  the  act  of  render- 
ing aid  to  the  wounded;  several  men  had  been  killed  or  wounded  by 
the  shells  and  of  the  latter  a  number  met  death  from  the  steam. 
The  total  number  of  casualties  was  forty,  of  which  twenty-six  were 
due  to  scalding.  In  this  critical  condition  of  the  Keystone  State  her 
captain,  Commander  (afterward  Eear  Admiral)  William  E.  LeRoy, 
ordered  her  flag  hauled  down  in  response  to  a  summons  to  surrender, 
resistance  or  flight  being  apparently  impossible.  The  chief  engineer, 
Acting  First  Assistant  Archibald  K.  Eddowes,  did  not  stop  the 
engines  at  this  juncture  but  hastened  on  deck  and  informed  Com- 
mander LeEoy  that  thr.y  would  run  for  fifteen  or  twenty  minutes  on 
their  vacuum  and  that  that  time  should  suffice  to  get  out  of  the 
enemy's  reach  or  obtain  assistance  from  other  vessels  already  be- 


ginning  to  engage  the  rams.  Upon  this  representation  the  captain 
ordered  the  colors  hoisted  and  the  ship  moved  away  from  her  assail- 
ants, being  soon  taken  in  tow  by  the  Memphis  and  in  that  manner 
was  saved  to  the  United  States  government  through  the  fidelity  and 
knowledge  of  her  chief  engineer. 

Mr.  Eddowes  was  subsequently  promoted  to  be  an  acting  chief 
engineer  and  had  the  honor  of  serving  for  a  time  as  chief  engineer  of 
the  big  frigate  Minnesota.  Being  in  the  volunteer  service,  he  was 
honorably  discharged  at  the  close  of  the  war  and  disappeared  from 
naval  cognizance  for  many  years.  In  the  summer  of  1894  the  hard 
times  compelled  him  to  write  to  the  Navy  Department  asking  to  be 
admitted  to  the  Naval  Home  in  Philadelphia,  his  letter  stating  that 
he  was  old,  broken  in  health,  out  of  employment,  and  homeless. 
Although  not  eligible  for  admission  to  the  institution  mentioned 
under  a  strict  interpretation  of  the  law,  it  is  a  gratifying  fact  that  his 
case  was  considered  in  a  liberal  manner  and  his  prayer  was  granted. 
Although  now  cared  for  in  that  manner,  there  remains  in  the  story 
an  undercurrent  painfully  suggestive  of  the  concluding  lines  of  Mr. 
Kipling's  reproachful  verses  concerning  the  survivors  of  the  charge 
of  the  Light  Brigade: 

' '  O  thirty  million  English  that  babble  of  England's  might, 
Behold,  there  are  twenty  heroes  who  lack  their  food  to-night; 
Our  children's  children  are  lisping  'to  honor  the  charge  they  made,' 
And  we  leave  to  the  streets  and  the  workhouse  the  charge  of  the  Light  Brigade. ' ' 

Besides  the  two  vessels  so  badly  used  by  the  rams,  the  Qualer 
City  was  considerably  damaged  by  a  shell  exploding  in  her  engine- 
room,  which  fortunately  did  not  kill  anyone,  and  the  Augusta  also 
received  a  shell  through  her  side  without  loss  of  life.  "While  the 
fight  was  in  progress  Mr.  Thurston  on  the  Princess  Royal  by  almost 
superhuman  exertions  got  up  steam  from  cold  water  and  the  vessel 
was  taken  out  seaward  for  safety.  About  7.30  a.  m.  the  Housatonic 
and  other  vessels  having  reached  the  scene  and  attacked  the  rams, 
they  gave  up  the  fight  and  retreated  up  the  channel  to  the  vicinity 
of  Fort  Moultrie;  late  in  the  afternoon  they  got  under  way  and  re- 
turned to  Charleston. 

•'It  was  this  incident  which  led  to  the  famous  dispute  in  which 
it  was  asserted  by  General  Beauregard  and  Commodore  Ingraham, 


on  the  one  side,  that  the  blockade  had  been  broken,  and  that,  under 
the  accepted  interpretation  of  international  law,  it  could  not  be  re- 
established until  after  three  months'  notice,-  that  time  at  least  being 
thus  permitted  to  free  trade,  by  foreign  nations,  with  the  Southern 
Confederacy;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  it  was  unanimously  certi- 
fied, by  the  officers  of  the  National  fleet,  that,  on  the  contrary,  the 
blockade  had  not  been  broken,  the  fleet  had  not  been   driven  off, 
and  that  it   had  only  been  the  more  closely  drawn  in  around  the 
harbor  of  Charleston  by  the  action  with  the  iron-clads.  This,  which 
was  the  finally  accepted  version  of  the  affair,  was  certainly  correct, 
as  those  of  us  who  were  in  the  action  well  know.     The  whole  affair 
was  over  before  breakfast,  and  at  9:30  a.  m.,  our  prize  was  on  her 
way  to  report  to  Admiral  DuPont,  at  Fort  Royal,  convoyed  by  the 
injured  vessels,  which  were  sent  there  for  repair."1 

On  January  30th  the  purchased  screw  steamer  Isaac  Smith  w 'as 
sent  up  the  Stono  River,  South  Carolina,  to  make  a  reconnois- 
sance.  When  near  Legareville  she  was  suddenly  attacked  by  three 
batteries  of  heavy  guns  concealed  on  the  banks,  and  was  soon  com- 
pelled to  surrender,  having  been  entirely  disabled  by  getting  a  shot 
through  her  steam  drum.  Before  surrendering  she  had  nine  people 
killed  and  sixteen  wounded,  the  only  officer  killed  being  Acting 
Second  Assistant  Engineer  James  S.  Turner,  who  was  struck  in  the 
breast  and  thigh  by  pieces  of  shell.  Acting  Third  Assistant  En- 
gineer Erastus  Barry  was  wounded,  as  was  also  Acting  Lieuten- 
ant Conover,  who  was  in  command,  and  the  paymaster,  Mr. 
F.  C.  Hills,  the  latter  being  in  command  of  the  powder  divi- 
sion. The  survivors,  including  First  Assistant  Engineer  Jacob 
Tucker  and  Third  Assistant  William  Ross,  became  prisoners  of 

On  the  15th  of  January  the  commerce-destroyer  Florida  ran 
out  from  Mobile  through  the  blockading  fleet  and  entered  upon  a 
devastating  career  in  the  waters  of  the  West  Indies,  adding  to  the 
terror  already  inspired  by  the  known  presence  of  the  Alabama  in 
those  waters.  In  September  of  the  preceding  year  the  Florida  had 
run  into  the  port  of  Mobile  past  the  blockade  under  circumstances 
that  made  the  exploit  one  of  the  most  daring  of  any  performed 

»Dr.  R.  H.  Thurston,  in  Cornell  Magazine,  March,  1890. 


afloat  during  the  war.  Built  in  Liverpool  as  a  copy  of  a  class  of 
gun-vessels  in  the  British  navy  designed  for  swift  despatch  boats, 
this  vessel  had  proceded  out  to  the  West  Indies  late  in  the  spring 
of  1862  and  had  spent  the  summer  of  that  year  with  a  small  and 
disheartened  crew  wandering  about  from  place  to  place  trying  to 
procure  men  and  equipments  sufficient  to  allow  her  to  enter  upon 
her  intended  mission  of  destruction  against  American  commerce. 
Eventually  her  commander,  Maffitt,  with  oply  about  twenty  men  on 
board  fit  for  duty  on  account  of  the  ravages  of  yellow  fever,  was 
driven  to  the  extremity  of  seeking  a  port  in  the  Confederacy  where 
he  could  procure  a  crew  and  also  acquire  nationality  for  his  vessel. 
The  Florida  being  exactly  like  some  of  the  British  gun-boats 
cruising  about  the  Gulf  coast,  Maffitt  resolved  to  put  on  a  bold 
front  and  take  the  chances  of  a  deliberate  rush  into  the  line  of  block  - 
aders  in  broad  daylight,  which  desperate  resolve  was  carried  out  the 
afternoon  of  September  4th.  The  blockading  squadron  off  Mobile 
consisted  of  the  Susquehanna,  Oneida  and  about  half  a  dozen  gun- 
boats, but  it  happened  by  mere  chance  that  on  the  day  of  the 
Florida's  appearance  all  the  steamers  but  the  Oneida  and  Winona 
were  away  from  the  immediate  vicinity,  having  gone  for  coal  or  on 
other  errands  in  the  neighborhood.  The  approach  of  the  Florida 
was  not  regarded  with  much  suspicion,  as  her  appearance  and  the 
white  English  ensign  she  displayed  made  it  reasonably  certain  that 
she  was  a  British  gun-vessel  that  would  stop  and  communicate  ac- 
cording to  custom  before  proceeding  through  the  lines.  As  she  came 
on  with  no  slacking  of  speed,  however,  the  Oneida  already  cleared 
for  action  as  required  by  regulation  under  the  circumstances  fired 
three  shots  across  her  bow  in  rapid  succession,  and  as  these  produced 
no  sign  of  her  stopping  a  broadside  was  fired  into  her,  followed  by 
a  general  cannonading  from  the  Oneida  and  from  the  Winona  and 
gun-schooner  Rachel  Seamen  some  distance  away.  But  the  ruse 
was  successful ;  the  Florida  had  advanced  so  far  and  was  running 
at  such  speed  that  she  passed  on  and  was  soon  under  the  protection 
of  the  guns  of  Fort  Morgan,  having  received  a  "frightful  mauling," 
to  use  Maffitt's  own  words,  and  lost  twelve  men  in  killed  and 
wounded.  When  thoroughly  repaired,  manned  and  equipped,  she 
came  out  in  January,  1863  ;  ran  the  blockade  successfully,  and 
began  her  career  as  before  mentioned. 


A   flying   squadron   commanded  by   Captain   Wilkes   of  San 
Jacinto  fame  was  kept  busy  scouring  the  West  Indies  in  search  of 
the  commerce-destroyers.     On  the  first  day  of  February  the  double- 
ender  Sonorroa  of  this  squadron,  while  near  the  southern  end  of  that 
body  of  water  lying  between  Andros  Island  and  Nassau  known  to 
sailors  as  the  Tongue  of  the  Ocean,  discovered  a  strange  sail  about 
six  miles  to  the  northward  and  gave  chase,  the  stranger  being  identified 
when   examined   with  the  marine  glasses   as  the  much-sought-for 
Florida.     The  pursuit  was  kept  up  with  varying  prospects  of  success 
for  thirty-four  hours,  during  which  time  no  one  on  the  Sonoma  slept 
nor  ate  a  regular  meal ;  after  traversing  the  length  of  the  Tongue  of 
the  Ocean  and  the  Providence  Channel  the  pursued  vessel  stood  out 
on  a  northeast  course  into  the  open   sea,    where  her  superior  sea 
qualities  enabled  her  to  draw  away   from   the   Sonoma  and  escape. 
The  episode  is  not  especially  important  except  for  an  engineering 
question  involved,  which  is  the  reason  for  its  introduction. 

The  chief  engineer  of  the  Sonoma  was  Acting  First  Assistant 
Engineer  Henry  E.  Rhoades  who  demonstrated  his  capability  and 
zeal  as  an  engineer  by  remaining  on  duty  continuously  during  the 
chase  and  urging  the  boilers  to  their  utmost  capacity  under  forced 
draft,  even  going  to  the  extent  of  burning  hams  and  bacon  to  add 
to  the  fierceness  of  the  fires.  That  he  was  able  to  keep  a  vessel  like 
the  Sonoma  for  more  than  thirty  hours  close  astern  of  the  Florida, 
built  with  special  reference  to  speed,  is  sufficient  proof  of  his  ability  as 
an  engineer,  although  in  doing  it  he  well  knew  that  he  was  inflicting 
fatal  injury  upon  his  own  machinery.  The  commanding  officer  of 
the  Sonoma,  Commander  T.  H.  Stevens,  published  in  the  Cosmopo- 
litan Magazine  for  December,  1890,  a  very  interesting  account  of 
this  chase,  from  which  narrative  the  following  extracts  are  made: 
"Orders  were  at  once  given  to  the  engineer  to  make  all  possible 
steam,  the  sails  were  cast  loose,  and  the  Sonoma  sprung  ahead  in 
pursuit."  .  .  .  "Renewed  orders  were  given  to  the  engineer  to 
crowd  all  steam  and  use  every  possible  effort  to  increase  the  steam 
by  the  use  of  blowers  or  through  any  other  means."  ...  "  Two 
or  three  times  the  engineer  reported  that  the  extreme  pressure  upon 
the  boilers  if  kept  up  would  cause  an  explosion,  to  which  reply  was 
finally  made,  '  Your  duty  is  to  obey  orders,  mine  to  capture  or  de- 
stroy the  Florida  at  any  risk." 


This  latter  sentiment  is  an  eminently  proper  one  from  a  mili- 
tary standpoint,  for  more  than  one  commander  or  final  judge  of  ex- 
pedients in  a  camp  or  on  board  an  armed  vessel  can  only  result  in 
confusion  and  failure  through  crossing  of  authority,  but  the  principle 
should  in  all  cases  be  double-acting  to  the  extent  of  holding  the 
determining  authority  alone  responsible  for  the  results  of  his  judg- 
ment, both  in  success  and  failure.  The  last  reference  to  the  /Sonoma 
in  the  magazine  article  from  which  quotations  have  been  made 
says  :  "  Shortly  afterward,  upon  receiving  orders  to  take  the  Sonoma 
to  New  York,  we  proceeded  thither  and  immediately  after  our  arrival 
there  the  vessel  was  put  out  of  commission.  The  long  chase  of  the 
Florida  made  extensive  repairs  essential. "  The  vessel  arrived  at 
New  York  about  the  middle  of  June  and  a  survey  showed  that  her 
cylinder  had  been  damaged  by  overwork  and  that  her  boiler  tubes 
were  so  nearly  burned  out  that  they  would  have  to  be  entirely 
renewed.  The  story  is  concluded  by  the  following  letter  sent  to  Mr. 
Rhoades  under  date  of  July  25th  :  "  Sir  :  A  report  of  the  examina- 
tion of  the  machinery  of  the  gunboat  Sonoma  shows  that  it  has  been 
seriously  injured  in  consequence  of  your  neglect  of  duty.  You  are 
therefore  dismissed  the  service,  and  will,  from  this  date,  cease  to  be 
regarded  as  an  Acting  First  Assistant  Engineer  in  the  navy. 

Yery  respectfully, 
Gideon  Welles,  Secretary  of  the  Navy." 

The  town  of  Washington  some  distance  up  the  Pamlico  River 
from  Pamlico  Sound  had  been  taken  and  occupied  by  the  Federal 
naval  force  in  the  North  Carolina  Sounds  since  early  in  1862.  Dur- 
ing the  first  two  weeks  of  April,  1863,  the  enemy  cut  off  water  com- 
munication by  occupying  some  works  below  the  town  and  made  a 
determined  though  unsuccessful  attempt  to  recapture  it,  the  two  or 
three  naval  vessels  thus  cut  oft  being  forced  to  severe  and  prolonged 
exertions  to  retain  possession  of  the  place  and  preserve  themselves. 
The  following  extracts  from  official  reports  regarding  the  investment 
refer  to  valuable  services  performed  by  members  of  the  engineer 

From  the  report  of  Acting  Bear  Admiral  S.  P.  Lee  : 

"The  Louisiana,    Commodore  Hull,   and  an   armed   transport 


called  the  Eagle,  under  charge  of  Second  Assistant  Engineer  Lay  and 
Paymaster  W.  W.  Williams,  of  the  Louisiana,  as  volunteers,  were 
almost  constantly  engaged  with  the  enemy's  batteries  opposite  Wash- 

"...  Acting  Second  Assistant  Engineer  H.  Rafferty,  Acting 
Third  Assistant  Engineer  John  E.  Harper,  ...  are  recommended 
to  especial  notice  for  their  good  conduct  and  bravery  in  battle." 

From  the  report  of  Commander  E.  T.  Kenshaw  of  the  Louisiana: 

"  Second  Assistant  Engineer  John  L.  Lay  and  Assistant  Pay- 
master W.  W.  Williams  volunteering  to  take  charge  of  the  guns  on 
board  transport  Eagle,  I  directed  them  to  do  so;  they  have  done  good 
service,and  acted  to  my  entire  satisfaction." 

"Acting  Third  Assistant  Engineer  Thomas  Mallahan,  of  the 
Ceres,  while  attempting  to  land  in  one  of  her  boats,  was  killed  by  a 
musket  ball." 

From  the  report  of  Acting  Lieutenant  Graves  of  the  Lockwood: 

"  Late  in  the  afternoon  my  boiler  commenced  leaking  to  such 
an  extent  as  to  put  out  the  fires.  I  ordered  the  engineers  to  blow 
out  the  water  and  repair  it  temporarily  with  all  possible  despatch, 
and  my  thanks  are  due  to  Acting  Second  Assistant  Engineer  J.  T. 
Newton  and  and  Acting  Third  Assistant  John  I.  Miller  for  the 
energy  and  promptness  they  displayed  in  complying  with  my  orders. 
At  9  p.  m.  had  steam  again." 

As  early  as  May,  1862,  the  Navy  Department  had  informed 
Flag  Officer  DuPont  confidentially  of  its  intention  to  attempt  the 
capture  of  Charleston,  and  in  January,  1863,  orders  were  sent  to 
him  to  carry  the  plan  into  execution,  the  iron-clads  as  fast  as  com- 
pleted being  ordered  to  report  to  him  for  the  undertaking.  One  of 
the  first  to  arrive,  the  Montauk,  Captain  John  L.  Worden,  distin- 
guished herself  the  28th  of  February  by  going  under  the  guns 
of  Fort    McAllister    in  the  Ogeechee  River  and  destroying  with  her 


shells  the  Confederate  steamer  Nashville  which  had  been  discovered 

aground  about  1,200  yards  up  the   river,  the  Montauk  receiving  a 

severe  fire  from  the  fort  without  material  damage  while  shelling  the 

Nashville.     On  the  third  of  March,  DuPont,  to  test  the  mechanical 

appliances  of  the  monitors  and  give  the  men  practice  in  firing  the 

guns,  sent  the  Passaic,  Patapsco  and  Nahantto  attack  Fort  McAllister. 

The  monitors  stood  the  test  well  and  received  no   serious   damage 

beyond  dents  in  the  turrets  and  side  armor,  while  the  few  defects  in 

turret  turning  mechanism,  gun  mounts  and  machinery  that  existed 

were  discovered  and  remedied.       The  Weehawken  while  on  her  way 

to  join  the  fleet  broke  down  February  7th  off  Port  Royal  and  was 

completely  disabled.  The  trunk  of  one  of  her  engines  broke  short 
off  at  the  piston,  canting  the  latter  to  the  extent  of  cracking  the 

cylinder  beyond  repair.  It  happened  that  the  cylinders  of  the 
Comanche  were  completed  in  Jersey  City  and  were  made  from  the 
same  patterns  and  in  the  same  shop  where  the  Weehawken  was  built 
so  by  use  of  the  telegraph  and  the  chartering  of  a  vessel  the  cylinders 
of  the  latter  with  all  their  attachments  were  hastened  to  Port  Royal 
and  installed  in  the  disabled  vessel  in  a  remarkably  short  space  of 

On  the  7th  of  April  DuPont  made  an  unsuccessful  attack  upon 
Fort  Sumter  with  the  New  Ironsides,  Montauk,  Weehawken,  Cats- 
kill,  Passaic,  Nahant,  Patapsco,  Nantucket  and  Keokuk.  The  iron- 
clads were  in    action  less  than  two  hours  and  were  then  withdrawn 

by  signal  from  the  flagship.  A  quartermaster  was  killed  in  the  pilot 
house  of  the  Nahant  by  a  flying  piece  of  bolt  from  the  armor  and 
Commander  Downes  and  five  others  were  injured  in  the  same  manner 
on  that  vessel.  The  Keokuk  with  her  curious  striped  armor  fared 
badly,  being  struck  ninety  times  in  thirty  minutes  and  pierced  through 
at  and  about  the  water-line  nineteen  times,  while  her  turret  was 
penetrated  and  the  ship  generally  riddled.  Fifteen  of  her  crew  were 
wounded,  some  of  them  seriously.  She  was  kept  afloat  during  the 
ensuing  night,  but  when  the  water  became  rough  in  the  morning  she 
sank,  her  people  being  taken  off  just  in  time  to  save  their  lives. 
Rear  Admiral  DuPont  made  a  discouraging  report  to  the  Navy 
Department  respecting  the  monitors,  and  Chief  Engineer  Stimers, 
who  had  been  sent  down  from  New  York  with  a  company  of 
machinists    and   ship-smiths   to   repair   injuries   to   the    iron-clads, 


reported  very  favorably  regarding  them,  the  two  reports  being  tlie 
beginning  of  a  famous  controversy  that  will  be  dealt  with  in  a 
separate  chaptei. 

The  iron-clads  did  not  again  engage  the  Charleston  forts  while 
nnder  DuPont's  command,  but  in  June  an  event  took  place  that  did 
much  to  redeem  the  reputation  of  the  monitors.  In  JSoveuiber, 
1861,  an  English  iron  steamer  named  Fingal  ran  the  blockade  into 
Savannah  and  after  discharging  her  cargo  was  sold  to  the  Confederate 
government  and  converted  into  an  armored  vessel  of  war  by  altera- 
tions practically  the  same  as  those  adopted  in  the  case  of  the 
Merrimac,  with  the  addition  of  a  heavy  armor  belt  of  timber  about 
the  water-line  and  a  torpedo  spar  fitted  on  the  bow.  She  was  armed 
with  two  6^jj-  inch  and  two  7  inch  Brooke  rifles,  the  latter  pivoted 
for  bow  and  stern  as  well  as  broadside  fire,  and  had  a  crew  of  one 
hundred  and  forty-five  officers  and  men.  These  preparations  con- 
sumed much  time  and  it  was  not  until  1863  that  she  was  ready  for 
service,  the  blockaders  in  the  meanwhile  having  maintained  a  vigilant 
watch  over  all  channels  whereby  she  might  get  to  sea.  In  June  it 
became  definitely  known  that  the  Atlanta,  as  the  Fingal  had  been 
re-named,  had  crossed  over  into  Wassaw  Sound  south  of  Savannah 
and  might  be  expected  to  make  a  raid  on  the  blockaders  thereabouts. 
The  double-ender  Oimmerone  being  the  only  vessel  just  then  off 
Wassaw  Sound,  Admiral  DuPont  immediately  despatched  thither  the 
monitors  Weehawken  and  Nahant,  the  senior  officer  being  sturdy 
John  Rodgers  in  the  Weeliawken. 

Early  in  the  morning  of  June  17th,  the  anniversary  of  Bunker 
Hill,  the  Atlanta  came  down  to  give  battle  to  the  monitors,  being 
accompanied  by  two  steamers  said  to  have  been  filled  with  excursion- 
ists expecting  to  witness  an  easy  victory.  Owing  to  the  narrowness  of 
the  channel  the  Nahant,  having  no  pilot,  had  to  follow  the  Weehawken 
and  was  unable  to  fire  a  gun  in  the  action  which  ensued.  At  4. 55  a. 
m.  the  Atlanta  opened  fire  without  effect,  which  was  not  returned 
until  twenty  minutes  later  when  Rodgers  with  deliberate  precision 
began  using  the  Weehawken's  guns,  one  of  which  was  a  Xl-inch  like 
those  of  the  original  Monitor,  and  the  other  a  XV-inch.  In  fifteen 
minutes  the  Atlanta,  then  aground  and  badly  damaged,  hauled  down 
her  colors  and  surrendered.  Four  of  the  five  shots  fired  from  the 
Weehawken  had  struck  her.  one  of  the  XV-inch,  the  first  fired,  having 


broken  through  the  armor  and  wood  backing,  strewed  the  gun-deck 
with  splinters  and  prostrated  forty  men  by  the  concussion,  one  of 
whom  died  :  the  other  XY-inch  shot  knocked  off  the  top  of  the 
pilot  house  and  disabled  both  pilots  and  the  man  at  the  wheel,  which 
accounts  for  the  vessel  going  aground.  One  of  the  Xl-inch  shots 
did  no  damage  beyond  breaking  a  plate  or  two  at  the  knuckle,  but 
the  other  one  carried  away  a  port-shutter  and  scattered  its  fragments 
about  the  gun-deck.  Lieutenant  Commander  .D.  B.  Harmony  of  the 
Nahant  was  put  in  charge  with  a  prize  crew,  Acting  First  Assistant 
Engineer  J.  G.  Young  of  the  Weehawken  taking  charge  of  the  en- 
gines. The  prize  was  found  fully  equipped  with  ammunition  and 
stores  for  a  cruise  and  was  appraised  as  follows  by  a  board  of  naval 

Hull 5250,000.00 

Machinery 80,000.00 

Ordnance,  ordnance  stores  &c 14,02291 

Medical  stores s 20.00 

Provisions,  clothing  and  small  stores I,012.h5 

Equipments  and  stores  in  the  master's,  boatswain's,  sailmaker's,  and  car- 
penter's departments 5,773.50 

Total  valuation $350,829.2f> 

The  above  amount,  less  $789.30  costs  of  trial,  was  subsequently 
declared  by  the  prize  court  as  available  for  distribution. 

Three  hours  after  the  surrender  the  engine  of  the  Atlanta  was 
reversed  by  engineer  Young  and  the  vessel  backed  off  into  deep 
water,  proceeding  later  under  her  own  steam  without  convoy  to  Port 
Royal  where  she  was  repaired  and  enrolled  in  the  naval  service  of 
the  United  States.  Captain  Eodgers'  report  of  the  engagement  con- 
tains the  following:  "  The  engine,  under  the  direction  of  First 
Assistant  Engineer  James  G.  Young,  always  in  beautiful  order,  was 
well  worked.  Mr.  Young  has,  I  hope,  by  his  participation  in  this 
action,  won  the  promotion  for  which,  on  account  of  his  skill  and 
valuable  services,  I  have  already  recommended  him."  On  the  5th 
of  July  Mr.  Young  received  his  promotion  to  the  grade  of  acting 
chief  engineer. 

The  outline  sketches  of  the  Atlanta  here  following  are  repro- 
duced from  drawings  made  at  the  time  of  her   capture   by  Second 



Assistant  Engineer  P.  E.  Voorhees  of  the  Wabash,  and  were  for- 
warded as  part  of  the  official  report  of  the  capture.  In  a  general 
way  they  serve  to  illustrate  the  type  of  armored  vessels  which  lack  of 
iron  building  material  forced  the  constructors  and  engineers  of  the 
South  to  resort  to. 


/^a  rsa 




Confeuekatis  Iron-Clad  Atlanta,  captured  by  the  WeehawTcen. 
Enlarged  section  on  A-B  showing  framing,  wooden  armor,  etc. 

Kear  Admiral  John  A.  Dahlgren  relieved  Eear  Admiral  Du- 
Pont  on  the  6th  of  July  and  immediately  began  a  determined  and 
prolonged  struggle,  in  conjunction  with  the  army,  for  the  possession 
of  Charleston  Harbor,  partial  success  being  achieved  by  the  capture 
of  Morris  Island  and  its  formidable  fort,  Wagner,  on  the  6th  of 
September.  Fort  Sumter  was  steadily  assailed  for  months  and  by 
the  end  of  the  year  was  little  more  than  a  heap  of  ruins,  though  the 
enemy  retained  possession  of  it.     A  noteworthy  casualty  of  the  siege 


occurred  on  the  Catskill  while  engaged  with  Fort  Wagner  on  the 
17th  of  August.  A  shot  from  the  fort  struck  the  top  of  the  pilot- 
house and  shattered  the  inner  lining  of  it,  pieces  of  which  killed 
Commander  George  W.  Eodgers  and  Assistant  Paymaster  J.  G. 
Woodbury,  and  wounded  a  pilot  and  a  master's  mate,  all  of  whom 
were  in  the  pilot-house.  It  is  claimed  by  the  friends  of  the  monitor 
type  of  ships  that  these  two  unfortunate  officers  and  the  quarter- 
master killed  on  the  Nahwnt  were  the  only  persons  who  were  killed 
on  the  monitors  by  cannon  fire  during  the  whole  course  of  the  war. 
The  constant  employment  of  the  monitors  during  these  months  of 
siege  entailed  much  hard  work  and  suffering  upon  the  engine-room 
force,  the  reports  of  commanding  officers  containing  frequent 
reference  to  a  prostration  of  engineers  and  firemen  from  the 
intense  heat  of  their  stations. 

Immediately  after  the  evacuation  of  Morris  Island  by  the  enemy 
an  unsuccessful  attempt  was  made  to  take  Sumter  by  assault,  a  land- 
ing party  of  about  four  hundred  men  from  the  fleet  being  sent  on 
shore  the  night  of  September  8th  for  that  purpose.  While  landing 
from  the  boats  a  number  of  casualties  occured  from  the  enemy's  fire 
and  the  party  was  driven  off  after  a  sharp  fight  with  the  loss  of  about 
one  hundred  and  twenty  officers  and  men  made  prisoners,  Third 
Assistant  Engineer  J.  H.  Harmony  of  the  Housatonic  being  one  of 
the  latter.  The  night  of  October  5th  a  most  daring  attempt  to  blow  up 
the  New  Irormdes  was  made  by  Lieutenant  Glassell,  Assistant 
Engineer  Toombs,  and  a  pilot,  who  went  out  to  her  in  a  small  and 
almost  submerged  cigar-shaped  craft  and  exploded  a  torpedo  close 
alongside  the  big  iron-clad.  The  explosion  started  some  beams  and 
knees  in  the  side  of  the  iron-clad  but  did  no  serious  injury.  A  mass 
of  water  fell  upon  the  deck  and  also  extinguished  the  fires  of  her 
assailant.  Lieutenant  Glassell  took  to  the  water  and  was  captured; 
the  engineer  and  pilot  stuck  to  their  disabled  boat  and  afterward  got 
up  steam  and  returned  to  Charleston  the  same  night.  For  this  Mr. 
Toombs  was  made  a  chief  engineer. 

In  the  operations  of  this  protracted  seige  the  resisting  and 
aggressive  qualities  of  the  monitors  were  well  tested  and  demon- 
strated. An  idea  of  the  hard  knocks  they  gave  and  took  during  the 
summer  may  be  gained  from  the  following  tabular  statement  of  their 
services,  as  reported  to  the  department  by  Admiral  Dahlgren: 




JULY  10-SEPT7, 








iv  in. 

xi  in. 






























The  limited  operations  of  the  Lehigh  were  due  to  the  fact  that 
she  did  not  arrive  at  Charleston  until  August  30,  and  consequently 
was  engaged  only  about  a  week  of  the  period  dealt  with. 

About  the  middle  of  the  afternoon  of  Sunday ,  December  6,  the 
Weehwwken  sank  at  her  anchorage  off  Morris  Island.  The  cause  of 
this  disaster  as  determined  by  a  court  of  inquiry  appears  to  have 
been  altering  her  trim  by  stowing  an  unusual  quantity  of  shot  and 
shell  in  the  bow  compartments  and  leaving  the  forward  hatch  open 
when  water  was  breaking  on  board.  Ordinarily  all  water  ran  aft 
and  was  thrown  out  by  the  pumps  in  the  engine-room,  but  with  the 
changed  trim  this  did  not  occur  until  a  large  quantity  of  water  had 
accumulated  forward,  bringing  her  more  and  more  down  by  the 
head,  and  rapidly  increasing  through  new  leaks  started  by  the 
unusually  heavy  load  forward.  This  condition  was  not  discovered 
until  ten  or  fifteen  minutes  before  she  sank,  and  the  desperate 
attempts  then  made  to  relieve  her  were  unavailing;  her  limit  of 
buoyancy,  which  was  only  125  tons,  was  reached  before  the  pumps 
began  gaining  on  the  water,  and  she  went  down.  Four  officers  and 
twenty-six  men  perished  in  her,  the  entire  watch  on  duty  in  the 
engine  and  fire-rooms  being  lost.  The  four  officers  drowned  were 
all  third  assistant  engineers — Messrs.  Henry  W.  Merian;  Augustus 
Mitchell;"'  George  W.  McGowan,  and  Charles  Spangberg.  Two  of 
these  were  on  duty  and  the  other  two  heroically  went  to  the  engine- 
room  to  try  to  render  assistance  instead   of  saving  themselves,  as 


they  might  have  done.  The  engineer  in  charge,  Mr.  J.  B.  A. 
Allen,  acting  second  assistant,  whose  duties  obliged  him  to  go  on 
deck  at  intervals  to  report  to  the  executive  officer,  was  saved. 


"  For  Southern  prisons  will  sometimes  yawn, 
And  yield  their  dead  unto  life  again; 
And  the  day  that  comes  with  a  cloudy  dawn 
In  golden  glory  at  last  may  wane." 

Kate  Putnam  Osgood. 

1863 — The  Civil  War,  Continued — The  War  on  the  Western  Waters — Passage 
of  Port  Hudson — Destruction  of  the  Frigate  Mississippi — Minor  Opera- 
tions in  the  West — New  Vessels  Placed  Under  Construction — The  Light- 
Draft  Monitors — Iron  Double-Enders — Large  Wooden  Frigates  and  Sloops- 
of- War— The  First  Swift  Cruisers — The  Kalamazoo  Class  of  Monitors- 
Assimilated  Rank  of  Staff  Officers  Raised — New  Regulations  Governing 
Promotion  in  the  Engineer  Corps  Issued. 

THE  naval  force  in  1863  on  the  western  rivers  was  engaged  in  a 
ceaseless  and  baffling  warfare  under  conditions  that  were  very 
difficult  and  often  disheartning.  Great  annoyance  was  experienced 
from  the  development  by  the  Confederates  of  the  torpedo,  and  another 
danger,  equally  unassailable,  existed  in  the  guerrillas  or  "bush- 
whackers "  who  infested  the  swamps  and  forests  along  the  river 
banks  in  such  unseen  numbers  that  no  man's  life  was  safe  on  a  pass- 
ing steamer.  David  D.  Porter,  still  a  commander,  but  holding  an 
acting  appointment  as  rear  admiral,  was  now  in  general  command  of 
the  Mississippi  fleet,  which  had  been  increased  by  a  number  of  regu- 
larly built  war  vessels  in  addition  to  the  mortar  boats  and  make-shifts 
previously  spoken  of.  On  the  4th  of  July  Porter  was  commissioned 
a  rear  admiral  in  recognition  of  his  services  before  Vicksburg,  which 
place  succumbed  to  the  combined  army  and  naval  forces  on  that 
date.  Besides  Porter's  fleet,  vessels  of  Farragut's  West  Gulf  block- 
ading squadron  also  operated  in  the  river,  the  most  noteworthy  battle 
of  the  year  in  this  region  being  fought  by  a  division  of  that 

The  night  of  March  14-15  Farragut  attempted  to  run  past  the 
formidable  batteries  at  Port  Hudson,  Louisiana,  his  object  in  wish- 
ing to  get  above  them  being  to  cut  off  the  enemy's  supplies  from 
the  Ked  River  region  and  also  to  recover  if  possible  the  iron-clad 


casemated  gunboat  Indianola,  which  had  been  captured  by  four 
Confederate  steamers  on  February  24th.  Farragut's  fleet  consisted 
of  his  flagship  Hartford,  three  large  ships  and  three  gunboats.  To 
provide  for  keeping  the  large  vessels  going  ahead  in  case  of  injury 
to  their  machinery  they  were  each  ordered  to  lash  a  gunboat  along- 
side on  their  port  sides,  that  being  away  from  Port  Hudson  which 
is  located  on  the  east  side  of  the  river.  The  Mississippi  had  no 
consort;  not  from  any  sentiment  that  the  old  sea-veteran  could 
fight  her  battles  better  alone,  but  because  there  was  no  gunboat  for 
her  and  her  overhanging  paddle-boxes  would  have  made  the  arrange- 
ment difficult  if  not  impossible  had  there  been  another  gunboat 
available.  The  iron-clad  Essex  and  some  mortar  boats  of  Porter's 
fleet  were  also  present  and  did  good  service  bombarding  the  forts, 
as  they  had  done  before  at  the  forts  below  New  Orleans.' 

Shortly  before  midnight  the  squadron  moved  up  the  river  and 
received  a  terrible  fire  from  the  batteries  on  shore,  the  ships  being 
brought  into  bold  relief  by  the  light  of  burning  buildings  and  bon- 
fires on  the  banks.  Farragut  in  the  Hartford,  with  the  Albatross 
lashed  alongside,  succeeded  in  running  the  batteries  and  gained  a 
position  in  the  river  above,  but  all  the  other  vessels  failed  in  the 
attempt.  The  Monongahda  grounded  on  a  spit  in  front  of  the 
principal  battery  and  for  half  an  hour  was  a  stationary  target  for  a 
most  severe  fire  which  killed  six  and  wounded  twenty-one  of  her 
crew,  Captain  McKinstry  being  among  the  wounded.  Her  escape 
from  this  almost  fatal  predicament  was  due  largely  to  the  exertions 
and  courage  of  her  chief  engineer,  Mr.  George  F.  Kutz,  and  his 
assistants,  the  senior  one  of  whom  was  Mr.  Joseph  Trilley,  now  a 
chief  engineer  in  the  navy.  To  work  the  engines  to  their  utmost 
in  the  endeavor  to  back  off,  these  officers  took  the  desperate  risk  of 
doubling  the  steam  pressure  in  the  boilers  and  with  the  added 
power  thus  obtained  and  ^he  assistance  of  the  consort  Kvneo  the 
ship  was  finally  floated.  This  extraordinary  power  worked  through 
the  engines  resulted  in  heating  the  forward  crank  pin,  the  brasses 
of  which  were  slacked  off  during  a  momentary  stop,  and  the  engines 
thereafter  kept  running  at  full  speed  by  playing  a  stream  of  water 
from  the  fire  hose  on  the  hot  pin  until  the  ship  was  off  the  bottom. 
By  that  time  the  pin  was  so  burned  and  cut  that  the  engines  were 
disabled   and  the  Monongahda  and  Emeo  had  to  drop  down  the 


river  out  of  action.  While  the  engineers  were  struggling  with  the 
crank-pin  adjustment  an  80-pounder  rifle  shot  came  into  the  engine- 
room  and  broke  into  pieces  by  striking  the  end  of  the  reversing  shaft. 

The  reports  made  by  the  commanding  and  executive  'officers 
ascribed  the  failure  of  the  Monongahela  to  get  past  the  batteries  to 
the  failure  of  the  engines,  but  Chief  Engineer  Kutz  was  able  to 
prove  to  the  satisfaction  of  Admiral  Farragut  that  the  casualty  to 
the  engines  occurred  while  unusual  exertions  were  being  made  to 
back  off  the  spit,  and  not  after  the  vessel  was  again  afloat,  as  had 
been  charged. 

The  Mississippi  following  astern  of  the  Monongahela  also  went 
aground  and  for  thirty-five  minutes  made  heroic  endeavors  to  get 
off  and  escape  from  the  galling  cross  fire  of  three  batteries  concen- 
trated upon  her.  The  chief  engineer,  Mr.  Wm.  H.  Rutherford, 
increased  the  steam  pressure  from  thirteen  to  twenty-five  pounds 
and  backed  the  engines  with  all  their  power  without  avail.  The 
fire  of  the  enemy  finally  became  so  accurate  and  deadly  that  Cap- 
tain Melancthon  Smith  deemed  it  "most  judicious  and  humane," 
as  he  expressed  it  in  his  report,  to  abandon  the  vessel,  and  then 
followed  a  task  that  must  have  been  most  repugnant  to  those  who 
loved  the  old  ship  and  respected  her  historical  associations.  Her 
battery  was  spiked;  the  small  arms  thrown  overboard;  the  engineers 
and  their  men  broke  and  destroyed  the  vital  parts  of  the  machinery, 
fires  were  kindled  in  several  places  between  decks,  and  after  the 
sick  and  wounded  were  brought  up  the  ship  was  left  to  her  fate. 
Sixty-four  of  her  crew  were  reported  killed  and  missing  and  two 
hundred  and  thirty-three  as  saved,  a  number  of  the  latter  being 
wounded  from  the  enemy's  fire,  among  them  Mr.  J.  E.  Fallon, 
third  assistant  engineer.  In  this  disaster  and  its  sequence  Third 
Assistant  Engineer  Jefferson  Brown  was  the  subject  of  one  of  those 
incidents  of  resurrection  from  supposed  death  which  occurred  a 
number  of  times  during  the  Civil  War  and  turned  mourning  iuto 
rejoicing  for  a  number  of  families  both  North  and  South.  Mr. 
Brown  was  reported  drowned  when  the  Mississippi  was  lost,  and  in 
collecting  material  for  this  book  the  writer  found  his  name  still  in- 
scribed in  the  list  of  the  dead  in  the  casualty-book  of  the  rebellion 
kept  by  the  bureau  of  Medicine  and  Surgery,  Navy  Department. 
Some  months  after  the  disaster,  when  an  exchange  of  prisoners  was 


effected,  Mr.  Brown  appeared  among  the  captives  given  np,  and  has 
lived  to  be  at  present  a  chief  engineer  on  the  retired  list  of  the 

The  following  spirited  description  of  the  final  scene  in  the 
career  of  the  Mississippi  is  taken  from  a  paper  read  before  the  Dis- 
trict of  Columbia  Commandery  of  the  Military  Order  of  the  Loyal 
Legion  by  Chief  Engineer  Harrie  Webster,  U.  S.  Navy,  who  as  an 
assistant  engineer  on  board  the  Genesee  witnessed  the  tragedy. 

"As  the  smoke  slowly  drifted  to  leeward  we  caught  sight  of  the 
old  frigate  Mississippi,  hard  and  fast  aground,  apparently  aban- 
doned, and  on  fire. 

'  'When  we  first  discovered  her  the  fire  was  already  crawling  up 
the  rigging. 

"From  every  hatch  the  flames  were  surging  heavenward,  and 
it  seemed  but  a  question  of  minutes  when  the  good  old  ship  must 
blow  up. 

"Every  mast,  spar,  and  rope  was  outlined  against  the  dark 
background  of  forest  and  sky,  and  it  was  a  sad,  and  at  the  same 
time,  a  beautiful  spectacle. 

"While  all  hands  were  speculating  on  the  causes  of  the 
disaster  the  staunch  old  craft,  which  had  braved  the  gales  of  every 
clime,  slowly  floated  free  from  the  bank,  and,  turned  by  an  eddy  in 
the  current,  swept  out  into  the  river  and  headed  for  the  fleet  as 
though  under  helmsman's  control. 

•  'As  the  burning  ship  neared  the  ships  at  anchor  in  her  path, 
her  guns,  heated  by  the  flames,  opened  fire,  one  after  another  in 
orderly  sequence,  and  as  their  breechings  had  been  burned  away 
the  recoil  carried  them  amidships,  where,  crashing  through  the 
weakened  deck,  they  fell  into  the  fiery  depths,  showers  of  sparks 
and  fresh  flames  following  the  plunge. 

"Fortunately  for  us,  her  guns  had  been  trained  on  the  bluffs, 
so  her  shots  flew  wide  of  the  fleet  and  sped  crashing  into  the  forest 
below  the  batteries  of  Port  Hudson. 

"Majestically,  as  though  inspired  with  victory,  the  ship,  which 
by  this  time  was  a  mass  of  fire  from  stem  to  stern,  from  truck  to 
water-line,  floated  past  the  fleet,  down  past  Profit's  Island,  down 
into  the  darkness  of  the  night. 


"Suddenly,  as  if  by  magic,  her  masts  shot  into  the  air  all 
ablaze,  a  tremendous  tongue  of  flame  pierced  the  sky  for  an  instant, 
and  amid  the  muffled  thunder  of  her  exploded  magazine  the 
Mississippi  disappeared  in  the  stream  whose  name  she  had  borne  so 
bravely  and  so  long. ' ' 

The  Richmond,  with  the  Genesee  alongside,  was  the  second  in 
line  following  the  flagship,  and  was  disabled  at  the  turning  point  in 
the  river  opposite  the  batteries  by  a  shot  carrying  away  both  her 
safety  valves  and  letting  off  the  steam,  which  obliged  her  to  drop 
down  stream,  the  Genesee  being  unable  to  carry  her  up  against  the 
strong  current.  She  had  three  men  killed  and  twelve  wounded,  the 
majority  of  the  casualties  occurring  among  the  marines,  a  gun's 
crew  of  whom  were  nearly  all  swept  away  by  a  single  shot.  Com- 
mands James  Alden  of  the  Richmond  in  his  report  of  the  battle 
said,  "To  Mr.  Moore,  our  chief  engineer,  great  credit  is  due  for  his 
management  throughout  the  fight,  and  particularly  after  the  accident 
to  the  safety-valve  chest. ' '  The  Genesee  was  considerably  damaged 
by  shot  and  had  three  wounded;  her  commander  reported,  "I 
also  bring  to  special  notice  the  efficient  manner  in  which  Mr.  John 
Cahill,  senior  engineer,  and  the  assistant  engineers,  Charles  H. 
Harreb,  Michael  McLaughlin,  Christopher  Milton  and  Sarrie 
Webster,  with  the  firemen  and  coal  heavers  attached  to  this  depart, 
ment,  worked  the  engine  and  supplied  the  furnaces  during  the 
action. ' ' 

The  state  of  affairs  in  the  engine  department  of  the  Richmond 
was  most  critical  after  the  destruction  of  the  safety  valves,  the 
engine  and  fire-rooms  being  filled  with  steam,  which  obliged  the 
most  heroic  devotion  to  duty  in  order  to  save  the  boilers  by  hauling 
the  fires.  Mr.  Eben  Hoyt,  the  first  assistant  engineer,  was  con- 
spicuous in  this  work,  as  described  by  the  following  from  the 
official  report  of  Chief  Engineer  John  W.  Moore  : 

' '  I  consider  it  my  duty  to  bring  to  your  notice  the  valuable 
assistance  rendered  me  by  First  Assistant  Engineer  E.  Hoyt,  who, 
during  the  whole  engagement,  was  actively  employed  wherever 
most  required,  until  after  having  penetrated  the  steam  several  times, 
while  superintending  the  hauling  of  the  fires,  trying  to  ascertain  the 


extent  of  injury,  &c. ,  he  was  finally  led  away  completely  exhausted 
and  fainting." 

In  forwarding  this  report  to  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Com- 
mander Alden  sent  the  following  letter: 

"  Sir:  I  have  the  honor  to  enclose  herewith  the  report  of  the 
chief  engineer  of  this  vessel  setting  forth  the  injuries  done  to  our 
machinery  on  the  night  of  the  14th  instant.  It  would  have 
been  sent  with  the  others,  but  Mr.  Moore's  attention  has  been 
so  entirely  engrossed  in  the  personal  superintendence  of  the  repairs 
that  it  was  found  impracticable. 

"  In  my  general  report  of  our  proceedings,  at  the  time  re- 
ferred to,  I  had  occasion  to  speak  of  Mr.  Moore's  services,  and 
would  again  call  the  attention  of  the  department  to  his  merits  as  an 
officer.  All  that  he  says  of  his  assistants  I  can  endorse  most  fully, 
and  would  beg  leave  to  mention  here  what  I  regret  was  from  some 
oversight  omitted  in  my  first  report,  namely,  that  Third  Assistant 
Engineer  Weir,  who  was  stationed  at  the  bell-pull  on  the  bridge, 
was  of  the  greatest  assistance  to  me  in  pointing  out  the  location  of 
the  different  batteries,  and  although  knocked  down  and  injured  by 
splinters,  recovered  himself  immediately  and  continued  unflinch- 
ingly at  his  post." 

In  order  to  communicate  with  the  admiral  above  Port  Hudson, 
Commander  Alden  directed  the  commander  of  the  Genesee  to  fit  out 
an  expedition  from  his  vessel  for  that  purpose.  As  the  undertaking 
was  one  of  great  peril,  volunteers  were  called  for  from  among  the 
officers,  and  three  or  four  respopded:  from  these  Commander 
Macomb  selected  Acting  Third  Assistant  Engineer  Harrie  Webster, 
although  he  was  the  only  staff  officer  who  had  volunteered;  put  him 
in  command  of  a  boat's  crew,  and  started  him  off  ofl  his  dangerous 
mission.  Mr.  Webster  successfully  took  his  boat  through  the  six 
or  eight  miles  of  intervening  swamps  and  lagoons,  delivered  his 
despatches  to  Admiral  Farragut,  received  others  from  him  to  Com- 
mander Alden,  and  returned  to  the  Genesee  the  same  night.  On 
the  way  back  he  landed  and  examined  a  signal  station  of  the  enemy, 
and,  finding  about  it  the  fresh  trail  of  a  horseman,  he  took  his  party 


in  pursuit,  eventually  overhauling  and  capturing  at  the  point  of  his 
revolver  a  Confederate  lieutenant  with  his  horse,  accoutrements,  and 
important  despatches.  The  exploit  was  one  of  remarkable  nerve 
and  daring,  performed  as  it  was  in  the  gloomy  fastnesses  of  the 
enemy's  country. 

On  the  22nd  of  March  while  Rear  Admiral  Porter  with  some 
mortar-boats  and  small  steamers  was  trying  to  work  through  the 
thickets  of  Steele's  Bayou  and  thus  get  into  the  Yazoo  Kiver,  he 
was  attacked  by  a  large  force  of  the  enemy  concealed  in  the  woods; 
two  of  his  men  were  severely  wounded  and  Acting  Third  Assistant 
Engineer  Henry  Sullivan  of  the  Dahlia  was  struck  by  a  rifle  ball 
and  killed. 

On  March  28th  the  purchased  gun-vessel  Diana,  Acting  Master 
T.  L.  Peterson  commanding,  was  sent  into  Grand  Lake  from  the 
Atchafalaya  River  to  make  a  reconnoissance.  When  on  her  return 
she  was  attacked  near  Berwick  Bay  from  shore  by  field  pieces  and 
sharp-shooters,  and  was  forced  to  surrender  after  a  fiercely  fought 
contest  lasting  nearly  three  hours.  The  commanding  officer  and 
two  master's  mates  next  to  him  in  rank  were  killed  before  the  sur- 
render, and  Acting  Assistant  Engineer  James  MoNally  was  also 
killed,  the  latter's  death  being  instantaneous  from  a  Minie  ball  in 
the  head. 

About  the  middle  of  July  while  a  detachment  of  vessels  of  the 
Mississippi  flotilla  was  up  the  Yazoo  Biver  destroying  Confederate 
steamers  that  had  taken  refuge  there,  the  armored  gunboat  Baron 
de  Kalb  ran  upon  two  torpedoes  and  was  sunk  in  twenty  feet  of 
water.  Her  hull  was  so  damaged  that  no  effort  was  made  to  raise 
her,  but  her  guns,  stores,  and  parts  of  the  machinery  were  removed, 
and  her  armor  plates  were  taken  off  to  prevent  them  from  becoming 
of  use  to  the  enemy.  The  Baron  de  Kalb  was  originally  the  St. 
Louis,  the  name  having  been  changed  about  the  time  she  was  trans- 
ferred to  the  Navy  Department,  and  she  was  the  third  of  the  seven 
original  Edes  iron-clads  to  be  destroyed  by  the  enemy.  The  Cairo 
was  sunk  by  a  torpedo  in  the  Yazoo  River  in  December,  1862,  and 
the  Cincinnati  was  sunk  by  the  Vicksburg  batteries,  May  27th, 
1863.  These  disasters  were  unattended  with  loss  of  life  except  in 
the  case  of  the  Cincinnati,  which  had  nineteen  people  killed  or 
drowned  and  fourteen  wounded,  First  Engineer  Simon  Shultice 
being  one  of  the  latter. 


An  unfortunate  and  unsuccessful  attack  was  made  September 
8th  by  a  combined  army  and  navy  force  upon  a  fortified  position  at 
Sabine  Pass,  Texas.  The  force  consisted  of  1,200  troops  in  trans- 
ports, convoyed  by  the  naval  steamers  Granite  Oity,  Arizona,  Sachem, 
and  Clifton,  all  purchased  vessels  of  inferior  resisting  powers.  In 
the  engagement  the  two  last  named  were  both  disabled  by  shots  ex- 
ploding their  boilers,  and  were  compelled  to  surrender.  The  Sachem 
had  two  engineers  and  seven  men  killed  and  a  considerable  number 
wounded,  the  two  unfortunate  engineers  being  John  Frazer,  acting 
second  assistant  engineer,  and  John  Munroe,  acting  third  assistant. 
The  executive  officer,  Acting  Master  Khoades,  and  seven  men  of  the 
Clifton  were  killed  and  a  number,  mostly  soldiers,  wounded;  her  chief 
engineer,  Mr.  Bradley,  was  wounded  and  was  afterward  reported  by 
the  Confederate  captors  of  the  survivors  as  having  died  of  his  injuries. 

In  October  the  commander  of  the  ironclad  Osage,  of  the  Missis- 
sippi squadron, having  received  information  that  a  Confederate  steamer 
was  tied  up  to  the  bank  in  the  Eed  Eiver,  sent  out  an  expedition 
under  command  of  Acting  Chief  Engineer  Thomas  Doughty,  with 
Assistant  Engineer  Hobbs  as  his  lieutenant,  which  expedition  captured 
and  destroyed  the  steamer  and  another  one,  took  a  number  of  pris- 
oners, and  returned  without  loss  to  the  Osage.  Mr.  Doughty's  re- 
port of  the  affair,  dated  October  1,  1863,  follows: 

"Sib:  In  obedience  to  your  order,  I,  with  a  party  of  twenty 
men,  with  the  assistance  of  Mr.  Hobbs,  started  for  Eed  Eiver  this 
morning.  Arriving  at  Eed  Eiver,  I  could  see  no  signs  of  a  steam- 
boat. I  divided  the  party,  sending  eight  men  down  the  river  to  look 
into  the  bend  below,  and  with  twelve  started  up  the  river.  When 
we  had  traveled  about  half  a  mile  I  saw  the  chimneys  of  a  steamer. 
The  woods  were  found  so  dense  that  we  could  not  penetrate  them, 
and  the  only  alternative  was  to  advance  in  sight.  The  steamer  was 
on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river,  and  I  feared  those  on  board  might 
see  us  in  time  to  escape  before  we  were  near  enough  to  use  our  rifles. 
No  one  saw  us,  and  I  chose  a  spit  opposite  her,  where  we  could  see 
any  one  who  attempted  to  escape.  I  hailed  her;  two  men  were  seen 
to  run  forward  and  disappear;  I  directed  three  files  on  the  right  to 
fire.  The  fire  brought  the  men  out,  and  at  my  command  they  brought 
to  my  side  of  the  river  two  skiffs  which  belonged  to  the  boat.     I  was 


about  to  embark  a  party  to  burn  her,  when  I  heard  a  steamboat  de- 
scending the  river.  I  ordered  the  men  out  of  sight  behind  a  large 
log  and  some  bushes,  and  in  two  minutes  I  saw  a  steamer  round  the 
point  above.  I  waited  until  she  was  within  four  hundred  yards,  and 
showed  myself,  and  ordered  her  to  stop.  She  did  so,  and  I  found 
myself  in  possession  of  nine  prisoners  and  two  steamboats.  I  knew 
I  could  not  get  them  out  of  the  river,  and  I  ordered  the  destruction 
of  the  first  one  captured,  the  Argus,  and  embarked  on  board  the  sec- 
ond, the  Robert  Fulton,  and  steamed  down  to  the  landing  where  I 
first  struck  the  river,  where  I  ordered  her  to  be  set  on  fire,  and  in  a 
few  minutes  she  was  one  mass  of  flame.  She  was  the  better  vessel 
of  the  two,  and  was  valued  by  her  owner  at  seventy-five  thousand 
dollars.  Neither  of  them  had  any  cargo  on  board.  I  captured  all 
the  officers  of  the  boats,  one  first  lieutenant  in  the  Confederate  army, 
and  three  negroes." 

Admiral  Porter  in  reporting  this  affair  to  the  Department  said, 
"  This  is  a  great  loss  to  the  rebels  at  this  moment,  as*  it  cuts  off  their 
means  of  operating  across  that  part  of  Atchafalaya  where  they  lately 
came  over  to  attack  Morganzia.  This  capture  will  deter  others  from 
coming  down  Ked  River.  The  affair  was  well  managed,  and  the  officers 
and  men  composing  the  expedition  deserve  great  credit  for  the  share 
they  took  in  it. " 

During  1863  the  navy  was  increased  by  about  one  hundred  and 
thirty  vessels  of  all  kinds  acquired  by  purchase  or  capture,  and  lost 
thirty-two  in  battle  or  by  accidental  destruction.  Fifty-eight 
vessels  of  war  were  placed  under  construction  during  the  same 
period.  The  first  of  these  were  twenty  light-draft  single-turreted 
monitors,  contracts  for  the  construction  of  which  were  distributed 
among  a  dozen  different  cities  from  Portland,  Maine,  to  St.  Louis, 
Missouri,  during  the  spring  months  of  the  year.  The  general  plans 
for  these  monitors  were  furnished  by  John  Ericsson  and  the  entire 
control  and  supervision  of  their  building  was  entrusted  to  Chief 
Engineer  A.  C.  Stimers.  They  were  designed  to  draw  six  feet  of 
■water  and  were  intended  to  operate  in  shallow  rivers  and  other 
inland  waters  where  guerrillas  had  made  the  service  of  other  types 
of  light-draft  boats  extremely  perilous  and  of  doubtful  success.  For 
causes  that  will  be  referred  to  later,  these  monitors  failed  to  fulfill 

iifliHfiniiiiiiii  I  iiiii  iiiiiiirf 


















-  -, 




































their  mission  and  never  rendered  any  service  of  value  to  the  govern- 
ment. Their  names  were,  Gasco,  Ghimo,  Cohoes,  Mlah,  Klamath, 
Koka,  Modoc,  Napa,  Mmbuc,  Nausett,  Shawnee,  Shiloh,  Squando- 
SwncooJc,  Tunms, ,  Umpqua,  Wassuc,  Waxsaw,  Yazoo,  and  Yuma. 

In  June  and  July  contracts  were  made  with  various  ship-builders 
for  seven  iron  double-enders,  somewhat  larger  than  those  of  the 
two  classes  previously  built;  each  had  a  single  inclined  low-pressure 
engine  from  designs  furnished  by  the  engineer-in-chief.  They  were 
of  1,370  tons  displacement  and  were  named  Ashuelot,  Mohongo, 
Monocacy,  Muscoota,  Shamoken,  Suwanee,  and  Winnipec. 

In  order  to  provide  for  a  fleet  that  would  be  useful  for  general 
cruising  purposes  when  peace  should  be  restored,  the  Department 
had  plans  prepared  by  the  Bureau  of  Construction  during  the 
summer  for  a  number  of  large  wooden  frigates  and  sloops-of-war, 
and  began  the  construction  of  a  number  of  them  at  the  different 
navy  yards.  Unfortunately  the  supply  of  seasoned  timber  had  been 
so  drawn  upon  by  the  unusual  amount  of  ship-building  of  the  pre- 
ceding years  that  much  green  material  had  to  be  used  in  these 
vessels  and  as  a  consequence  those  that  were  eventually  finished 
were  very  short-lived.  Being  long  and  narrow,  they  were  strength- 
ened with  diagonal  iron  bracing  amounting  almost  to  an  enormous 
iron  basket  woven  over  the  hull,  and  this  held  them  together  long 
after  the  decay  of  the  timbers  and  would  have  caused  them  to  fall 
in  pieces. 

Eight  of  these  ships  were  gun-deck  frigates  of  4,000  tons  dis- 
placement and  full  ship-rigged.  They  were  about  310  feet  long 
between  perpendiculars  and  forty-six  feet  extreme  beam.  Their 
names  were,  Antietam,  Ouerriere,  Illinois,  Java,  Kewaydin, 
Mmnetonka,  Ontario,  and  Piscataqua.  Two  other  gun-deck  frig- 
ates, the  Sassalo  and  Wawtaga,  somewhat  larger  than  these  eight, 
were  projected  at  the  same  time,  but  their  hulls  were  never  built. 
In  addition  to  the  frigates,  ten  large  sloops-of-war  of  what  was 
known  as  the  Oontoocook  class  were  ordered.  They  were  of  about 
3  050  tons  displacement  and  were  named  Arapahoe,  Oontoocook, 
Keosauqua,  Manitou,  Mondamin,  Mosholu,  Pushmataha,  Tahgayvia, 
Wanalosett,  and  Willamette.  Of  these  only  four — the  Contoocook, 
Manitou,  Mosholu  and  Pushmataha — were  ever  built,  and  they, 
with  the  new  names  of  Aloam/,  Worcester,    Severn,  and   Congress 


respectively,  fell  into  decay  after  not  many  years'  service.  All 
twenty  of  the  ships  above  named  were  to  have  two-cylinder  back- 
acting  engines  of  the  Isherwood  type,  the  cylinders  being  sixty 
inches  in  diameter  and  three  feet  stroke  of  piston;  boilers  for  each 
vessel  were  specified  to  have  not  less  than  546  square  feet  of  grate 
service.  Late  in  the  fall  Mr.  Isherwood,  acting  for  the  Depart- 
ment, entered  into  contracts  with  eleven  different  machinery  firms 
for  the  engines  and  boilers  of  these  ships,  the  contract  price  for 
machinery  for  each  ship  being  $400,000,  except  the  Ontario  which 
contract  was  awarded  to  John  Roach  of  the  Etna  Iron  Works  for 
$385,000.  Owing  to  the  non-completion  of  the  hulls  of  many  of 
the  ships,  the  matter  of  making  settlements  and  compromises  with 
the  machinery  contractors  became  a  vexed  problem  for  the  bureau 
of  steam  engineering  to  struggle  with  after  the  war. 

The  swift  cruiser  came  into  existence  this  year  also  by  the  be- 
ginning of  work  on  seven  vessels  in  which  speed  waB  to  be  the  most 
important  element.  The  Secretary  of  the  Navy  in  explaining  the 
need  of  having  such  vessels  said  in  his  annual  report  for  that  year, 
"  Besides  the  turreted  vessels  for  coast  defense  and  large  armored 
ships  for  naval  conflict  we  need  and  should  have  steamers  of  high 
speed  constructed  of  wood,  with  which  to  sweep  the  ocean,  and 
chase  and  hunt  down  the  vessels  of  an  enemy."  One  of  these 
cruisers,  the  Idaho,  was  the  child  of  Mr.  E.  N.  Dickerson,  who  had 
secured  sufficient  influence  to  obtain  this  opportunity  of  experiment- 
ing on  a  large  scale  with  his  theory  of  perfect  expansion  of  gases 
when  applied  to  the  steam  engine.  With  the  Idaho  the  Bureau  of 
Steam  Engineering  had  nothing  to  do,  the  contract  for  hull  and 
machinery  complete  being  made  by  the  Bureau  of  Construction  in 
May,  1863,  with  Paul  L.  Forbes  and  E.  N.  Dickerson,  the  contract 
price  being  $600,000.  The  hull  was  built  by  the  famous  ship- 
builder, Steers,  of  New  York,  and  the  machinery  by  the  Morgan 
Iron  Works  from  designs  prepared  by  Mr.  Dickerson;  there  were 
two  pairs  of  engines  driving  twin  screws,  the  cylinders  having  the 
very  remarkable  dimensions  for  marine  engines  of  eight  feet  stroke 
and  thirty  inches  diameter.  The  Idaho  was  298  feet  long,  44£  feet 
beam,  and  of  3,240  tons  displacement. 

John  Ericsson  also  availed  himself  of  this  opportunity  to  try 
engineering  conclusions  with  Engineer-in-Chief  Isherwood.    It  was 


,    JHI 

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arranged  that  two  ships  exactly  alike  should  be  built,  one  to  be 
fitted  with  Isherwood's  engines  and  the  other  with  Ericsson's.  The 
ships  were  the  Madawaslea  and  Wampanoagr,  built  side  by  side  in 
the  Brooklyn  navy  yard  by  that  master-builder,  Naval  Constructor 
B.  F.  Delano;  they  were  335  feet  long,  45.2  feet  beam,  4,200  tons 
displacement,  and  rated  at  3,281  tons  burden.  Their  boilers  and 
all  auxiliaries  were  the  same.  Isherwood's  engines  consisted  of  a 
pair  of  cylinders  100  inches  in  diameter  and  four  feet  stroke, 
arranged  by  means  of  huge  wood-toothed  gear  wheels  to  make  one 
double  stroke  of  the  piston  for  every  2.04  revolutions  of  the  pro- 
peller shaft.  Ericsson's  cylinders  were  the  same  in  number  and 
dimensions  as  Isherwood's,  but  their  arrangement  was  according  to 
his  patented  vibrating  lever  type,  connecting  directly  with  the  shaft. 
Ericsson's  engines  for  the  Madawaska  were  built  at  the  Allaire  Iron 
Works,  New  York,  and  Isherwood's  for  the  Wawvpanoag  at  the 
Novelty  Iron  Works  in  the  same  city,  the  contract  price  in  each 
case  being  $700,000. 

Still  another  ship  entered  into  this  competition  for  speed  was  the 
Chattanooga  by  the  Cramp  &  Sons  Ship  Building  Co.  of  Philadel- 
phia, which  firm  built  the  hull  at  their  own  yard  and  obtained  the 
machinery  by  sub-contract  from  Merrick  &  Sons.  The  Chattanooga 
had  a  pair  of  back-acting  engines,  84  inches  diameter  by  42  inch 
stroke,  and  980  square  feet  of  grate  surface;  her  length  was  315  feet; 
breadth  46  feet,  and  displacement  3,040  tons.  The  contract  price 
for  the  vessel  complete  was  $600,000.  The  three  other  cruisers  not 
yet  mentioned  were  the  Pomponoosuc,  Ammonoosuc,  and  Neshammy, 
all  of  which  had  Isherwood  engines  precisely  like  those  of  the  Wam- 
panoag,  and  which  cost  $700,000  for  each  of  the  first  two  named  and 
$680,000  for  the  Neshammy.  The  machinery  for  the  Pomponoosuc 
was  built  by  the  Corliss  Steam  Engine  Co.  of  Providence,  Rhode  Is- 
land; that  for  the  Ammonoosuc  by  George  Quintard  at  the  Morgan 
Iron  Works,  New  York,  and  that  for  the  Neshammy  by  John  Koach, 
New  York.  The  Ammonoosuc  was  built  at  the  Boston  Navy  Yard 
and  the  Neshaminy  at  the  Philadelphia  navy  yard,  these  two  being 
sister  ships,  and  of  about  4,000  tons  displacement  each.  The  Pom- 
ponoosuc was  somewhat  larger  than  the  other  two,  but  was  never 
completed:  under  the  name  of  Connecticut  she  stood  in  frame  on  the 
stocks  at  the  Boston  navy  yard  for  many  years  and  was  finally  broken 



up.  The  completion  and  speed  trials  of  these  cruisers  did  not  occur 
until  some  time  after  the  close  of  the  war;  the  trials  of  some  of  them 
demonstrated  a  new  possibility  in  war-ship  building  and  were  the 
occasion  for  one  of  the  most  remarkable  professional  triumphs  ever 
achieved  by  an  engineer,  for  which  reasons  the  subject  will  be  taken 
up  in  detail  hereafter. 

Towards  the  end  of  the  year  it  was  decided  to  build  four  double- 
turreted  monitors  to  be  heavily  armed  and  armored  and  adapted  to 
ocean  cruising;  battle-ships,  in  fact.     These  were  big  vessels  (5,660 
tons  displacement)  with  big  names — Qmnsigamond,  Passaconawaj, 
Kalamazoo,  and  Shackamaxon.     The  hulls  were  put  under  construc- 
tion at  four  different  navy  yards,  wood  being  used,  and  all  deck- 
plating,   side  armor,  turrets,  etc.,  obtained   by  contract  with  iron 
masters.    In  December  the  Bureau  of  Steam  Engineering  made  con- 
tracts for  theii  machinery,  the  contract  price  for  that  for  the  Quinsi- 
gamond  and  Kalamazoo  being  $580,000  each,  and  $590,000  eachfor 
the  other  two.     The  contracts  called  for  twin  screws,  each  screw  shaft 
to  be  actuated  by  a  pair  of  direct-acting  horizontal  engines  with  cyl- 
inders 46^  inches  in  diameter  and  50  inches  stroke;  horizontal  tubu- 
lar boilers  of  not  less  than  900  square  feet  of  grate  surface  for  each 
vessel  were  specified.     Designs  for  this  machinery  were  furnished 
the  contractors  by  Mr.  John  Baird,  engineer,  of  New  York  city. 
None  of  the  hulls  were  ever  completed,  but  under  changed  names 
they  stood  on  the  stocks  for  a  number  of  years  and  were  eventually 
broken  up.     The  following  table  shows  the  place  of  building  of  the 
ships  and  machinery: 




Quinsigamond,  (Oregou).. 

Fassaconoway,  (Mass.) 

Kalamazoo,  (Colossus) 

Shackamaxon,  (Nebraska) 

Boston  Navy  Yard. 
Kittery  Navy  Yard. 
New  York  Navy  Yard. 
Philadelphia  Navy  Yard. 

Atlantic  Works,  Boston, 
Delamater  Iron  Works,  N.  Y 

Pusey ,  Jones  &  Co.  Wil'n  Del. 

In  November  of  this  year  Mr.  Isherwood  entered  into  a  con- 
tract with  the  Atlantic  Works  of  Boston  for  a  complete  outfit  of 
machinery  for  the  big  frigate  Franklin,  still  unfinished  at  the 
Kittery  navy  yard.     The  contract  called  for  a  pair  of  back-acting 


engines  with  cylinders  68  inches  in  diameter  and  42  inches  stroke; 
four  vertical  water- tube  boilers;  two  superheating  boilers;  a  Se well's 
surface  condenser,  and  a  detachable  hoisting  screw.  The  contract 
price  was  $440,000. 

Under  the  old  naval  organization  the  ranks  of  line  officers  as 
established  by  law  were,  midshipman,  master,  lieutenant,  com- 
mander, and  captain.  Staff  officers  held  assimilated  rank  with  these 
up  to  the  rank  of  commander,  as  directed  by  Secretary  Toucey's 
order  of  January  13,  1859.  In  1862,  as  has  been  noted,  the  line 
ranks  were  increased  by  adding  commodore  and  rear  admiral  at  the 
top  and  inserting  the  intermediate  ranks  of  ensign  and  lieutenant- 
commander,  no  change  in  the  assimilated  rank  of  the  staff  being 
made  at  that  time.  To  remedy  the  practical  reduction  in  rank  of 
the  staff  thus  occasioned  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  issued  an  order, 
dated  March  13,  1863,  re-grading  the  relative  rank  of  the  staff 
corps,  that  part  of  the  order  especially  interesting  to  engineers  read- 
ing as  follows: 

"Third  Assistant  Engineers  to  rank  with  Midshipmen. 

' ' Second  Assistant  Engineers  to  rank  with  Ensigns. 

'•'■First  Assistant  Engineers  to  rank  with  Masters. 

"  Chief  Engineers  to  rank  with  Lieutenant  Commanders  for  the 
first  five  years  after  promotion ;  after  the  first  five  years,  with  Com- 
manders; and  after  fifteen  years  date  of  commission,  to  rank  with 

"Fleet  Engineer  to  rank  with  the  Captain. 

''The  Fleet  Captain  to  be  called  the  'Chief  of  Staff,'  and  to 
take  precedence  of  the  Staff  Officers  of  every  grade. 

' '  Chiefs  of  Bweaux  of  the  Staff  Corps  to  rank  with  Commo- 
dores, and  to  take  precedence  of  eacn  other  according  to  their  dates 
of  commission  as  Surgeons,  Paymasters,  Naval  Constructors,  and 
Engineers,  and  not  according  to  the  date  of  appointment  as  Fleet 
Officer,  or  Chief  of  Bureau. 

'■'■Fleet  Staff  Officers  to  take  precedence  of  Executive  Officers." 

August  11th,  1863,  the  Navy  Department  issued  a  circular 
directing  that  thereafter  no  more  appointments  of  engineers  for  act- 
ing or  volunteer  service  should  be  made  until  the  applicant  had 
passed   satisfactory   examinations   before   the  chief  engineer  and 


surgeon  of  the  navy  yard  where  application  for  appointment  wag 

The  following  is  an  extract  from  a  general  order  issued  by  the 
department  under  date  of  September  16,  1863: 

"Engineers  will  hereafter  understand  that  the  condition  of  the 
machinery  under  their  charge  on  the  arrival  of  the  vessel  from  a 
cruise  will  be  considered  as  a  test  of  their  efficiency  and  fidelity  in 
the  discharge  of  their  duties;  and  that  the  result  of  the  examination 
then  made  will  determine  whether  they  have  discharged  their  duties 
in  such  manner  as  to  deserve  commendation,  or  have  been  so  grossly 
negligent  or  incompetent  as  to  render  their  expulsion  from  the 
service  an  act  of  justice  to  the  public." 

On  the  22nd  of  December  a  new  schedule  of  examinations  for 
promotion  of  engineers  in  the  regular  service  was  promulgated  by 
circular  order,  the  standard  being  raised  considerably  above  the 
requirements  of  the  regulation  on  the  subject  issued  in  1859.  This 
order  was  specified  to  apply  temporarily  only,  during  the  war,  and 
to  the  examination  of  engineers  in  the  squadrons. 


Of  entrance  to  a  quarrel ;  but  being  in, 
Bear't  that  the  opposed  may  beware  of  thee." 

Hamlet:  Act  1,  Sc.  3. 

1863— The  Civil  War,  Continued — Controversy  as  to  the  Efficiency  of  Iron-Clads — 
Bear  Admiral  DuPont  Beports  Adversely  to  Them — Chief  Engineer  Stimers 
Beports  in  Their  Favor — Bear  Admiral  DuPont  Prefers  Charges  Against  Chief 
Engineer  Stimers — The  Case  Investigated  by  a  Court  of  Inquiry. — Vindication 
of  Mr.  Stimers. 

THIS  history  of  the  steam  ships  and  engineers  of  the  American 
navy  would  be  incomplete  without  some  reference  to  an 
internal  strife  in  the  service  in  the  year  1863,  growing  out  of  the 
introduction  of  mastless  war- vessels;  a  controversy  that  produced 
much  ill  feeling  at  the  time,  and  one  that  would  gladly  be  passed 
over  in  silence  were  it  not  for  the  fact  that  it  was  a  matter  of 
national  interest  and  importance  while  it  lasted  and  reduced  itself  to 
a  clean-cut  issue  between  the  old  and  the  new.  It  was  in  fact  a 
struggle  for  existence  almost  on  the  part  of  the  engineers  and  their 
machinery,  opposed  by  the  older,  more  picturesque,  and  more  con. 
servative  sentiments  that  had  formed  the  traditions  and  institutions 
of  the  old  navy  and  sought  to  preserve  them  unchanged,  regardless 
of  the  progress  in  all  other  things  being  effected  through  the  agency 
of  the  steam  engine. 

The  attack  made  upon  Fort  Sumter  April  7th  by  Rear  Admiral 
DuPont  with  a  squadron  of  iron-clads  has  been  described  in  a 
former  chapter,  and  the  fact  that  the  Navy  Department  expected 
unqualified  success  from  these  vessels  has  been  mentioned.  Great, 
therefore,  was  the  disappointment  in  Washington  when  DuPont's 
report  of  the  engagement  arrived  with  his  announcement  that  he 
had  determined  not  to  renew  the  attack,  as  in  his  judgment  it  would 
convert  a  failure  into  a  disaster.  In  a  later  report  he  enlarged  upon 
what  he  considered  the  bad  qualities  of  the  monitors  and  said  they 
could   not  be  depended  upon  for  protection  against  the   armored 


vessels  the  Confederates  were  known  to  be  fitting  out  at  Charleston. 
It  is  possible  that  an  element  of  distrust  entered  into  the  disappoint- 
ment felt  in  Washington,  for  immediately  after  the  receipt  of  the 
news  from  Charleston  President  Lincoln  telegraphed  DuPont  to  hold 
his  position  inside  the  bar  near  Charleston,  or  to  return  to  it  if  he 
had  left  it  and  hold  it  until  further  orders.  Beginning  in  this  way 
a  correspondence  was  opened  between  Rear  Admiral  DuPont  and  the 
Navy  Department,  gradually  increasing  in  acerbity,  and  terminat- 
ing in  the  admiral  being  relieved  of  his  command  and  deprived  of 
any  further  participation  in  the  war. 

The  whole  story  of  this  affair  was  given  to  the  public  more  than 
thirty  years  ago  by  the  publication  in  book  form,  by  virtue  of  a 
joint  resolution  of  Congress,  of  five  thousand  copies  of  the  docu- 
ments in  the  case  together  with  other  interesting  letters  and  reports 
relating  to  armored  vessels.  In  the  present  chapter  the  author  will 
confine  himself  almost  entirely  to  the  records  as  preserved  in 
the  public  form  referred  to,  not  being  disposed  to  enter  upon 
any  expression  of  his  own  views  as  to  the  motives  and  interests 

Chief  Engineer  Alban  C.  Stimers,  as  the  general  inspector  of 
all  iron-clad  vessels  of  the  Ericsson  type  built  or  building  for  the 
government,  made  frequent  visits  to  the  fleet  off  Charleston  for  pur- 
poses of  examination  and  to  direct  repairs  in  case  of  damage.  He 
was  present  at  the  first  attack  on  Fort  Sumter  and  made  a  visit  of 
inspection  to  each  of  the  monitors  immediately  after  they  came  out 
of  action.  Returning  to  his  office  in  New  York  a  few  days  later 
he  made,  on  the  14th  of  April,  a  detailed  and  critical  report  to  the 
Secretary  of  the  Navy  of  the  result  of  his  observations,  his  views 
as  to  the  offensive  and  defensive  properties  of  the  monitors  being 
very  favorable  to  them  and  quite  at  variance  with  the  opinions 
expressed  in  Rear  Admiral  DuPont's  despatches.  For  this  he  was 
thereafter  involved  in  the  growing  controversy  and  appeared  in  it  to 
excellent  advantage  as  the  defender  of  the  new  type  of  war  ship. 
Besides  exercising  an  oversight  upon  the  iron-clads,  he  had 
attempted  while  at  Charleston  on  this  occasion  to  induce  the  authori- 
ties to  use  an  "obstruction  remover"  invented  by  Ericsson  and  with 
which  Stimers  had  made  some  satisfactory  experiments  in  the  still 
waters  of  New  York  harbor.     This  was  a  huge  raft,  called  by  the 


sailors  a  "boot-jack"  on  the  account  of  its  form,  intended  to  be 
pushed  by.  a  monitor  and  carrying  an  enormous  elongated  shell  or 
torpedo  at  its  forward  edge  designed  to  destroy  by  explosion  any 
piling  or  other  obstacles  that  might  be  encountered.  Mr.  Stimers 
referred  with  much  regret  in  his  report  to  the  lack  of  success  he  had 
had  in  trying  to  convince  the  naval  captains  of  the  utility  of  this 
invention.  It  received  a  fair  enough  trial  from  Captain  John 
Rodgers  of  the  Weehawken  soon  afterward  and  was  found  so  unman- 
ageable in  the  rough  water  in  which  it  had  to  operate  that  it  may 
be  put  down  as  one  of  Ericsson's  inventions  that  was  more  success- 
ful on  a  sheet  of  drawing  paper  than  it  was  in  actual  practice  afloat. 
Chief  Engineer  E.  D.  Robie,  one  of  the  most  ingenious  and  capable 
engineers  of  the  war  period,  was  diverted  from  his  regular  duty  as 
resident  inspector  of  the  building  of  the  Dictator  to  go  to  Charles- 
ton to  try  to  make  this  torpedo  raft  a  success,  and  his  failure  to  do 
bo  is  good  proof  that  it  was  impracticable. 

On  the  22nd  of  April  Eear  Admiral  DuPont  sent  a  long  letter 
to  the  Navy  Department  complaining  most  bitterly  of  an  account 
of  the  battle  of  April  7th  which  had  been  published  in  a  Baltimore 
newspaper  and  in  which  it  was  stated  that  the  weapons  at  DuPont's 
disposal  were  not  used  to  advantage  through  disinclination  induced 
by  a  dislike  to  Ericsson  and  his  naval  innovations.  The  complaint 
closed  with  the  statement  that  the  newspaper  mentioned  "seems  to 
have  had  its  own  hostile  proclivities  heightened  by  an  association 
with  an  officer  of  the  service  whose  name  appears  frequently  and 
prominently  in  its  report  in  connexion  with  the  repairs  upon  the 
iron-clads  and  in  relation  to  the  torpedoes  and  the  rafts;  I  mean 
Mr.  A.  C.  Stimers,  a  chief  engineer  in  the  naval  service  of  the 
United  States. ' '  The  reply  of  Secretary  Welles  to  this  letter  re- 
minded the  rear  admiral  that  the  press  of  the  country  had  been 
generally  lenient  and  indulgent  toward  him,  and  the  censures,  under 
a  great  disappointment,  had  been  comparatively  few.  It  told  him 
that  his  suspicions  regarding  Mr.  Stimers  did  that  officer  much  in- 
justice, and  concluded  with  the  comment : 

"It  has  not  appeared  to  me  necessary  to  your  justification  that 
the  powers  of  assault  or  resistance  of  our  iron-clad  vessels  should  be 
deprecated,  and  I  regret  that  there  should  have  been  any  labored 
effort  for  that  purpose." 


Rear  Admiral  DuPont  replied  at  much  length  to  this  letter, 
making  an  especial  point  of  objecting  to  the  use  of  the  word  "len- 
ient" as  applicable  to  the  opinions  entertained  by  the  public  toward 
him;  and  so  the  matter  went  on;  every  letter  written  by  each  of 
the  distinguished  gentlemen  tending  more   and  more  to  estrange 
them.     On  the  22nd  of  May  the  Department  sent  the  rear  admiral 
an  item  cut  from  a  Charleston  newspaper  in  which  it  was  stated  that 
the  guns  of  the  Keokuk  had  been  removed  by  the  Confederates  and 
taken    to    Charleston,     and    requested   information   regarding  it. 
DuPont  replied  curtly  that  he  knew  nothing  of  it  other  than  the 
statement  of  the  newspaper;  that  he  had  little  doubt  of  its  truth; 
that  the  work  must  have  been  done  in  the  night,  and  that  he  had 
offered  Chief  Engineer  Eobie  every  facility  to  blow  up  the  Keokuk, 
with  Mr.  Ericsson's  raft,  but  that  officer  found  it  too  dangerous  to 
use.     This  called  forth  an  equally  curt  retort  from  Secretary  Welles, 
who  wrote,    "  The  duty  of  destroying  the  Keokuk,  and  preventing 
her  guns  from  falling  into  the  hands  of  the  rebels,  devolved  upon 
the  commander-in-chief  rather  than  on  Engineer  Eobie.       I  do  not 
understand  that  the  operations  were  necessarily  limited    to   Mr. 
Ericsson's  raft,  of  which  such  apprehensions  appear  to  have  been 
entertained.     The  wreck  and  its  important  armament  ought  not  to 
have  been  abandoned  to  the  rebels,  whose  sleepless  labors  appear  to 
have  secured  them  a  valuable  prize." 

In  the  latter  part  of  June  Eear  Admiral  Andrew  H.  Foote, 
who  had  achieved  such  success  while  commanding  the  Mississippi 
flotilla,  was  ordered  to  relieve  DuPont,  but  being  seized  with  a 
fatal  illness  the  orders  were  transferred  to  Eear  Admiral  John  A. 
Dahlgren,  who  took  over  the  command  of  the  South  Atlantic  block- 
ading squadron  on  the  6  th  of  July  from  DuPont,  who  was  placed 
on  waiting  orders.  The  protracted  siege  of  the  Charleston  forts  at 
once  inaugurated  by  Dahlgren  has  already  been  described. 

Previous  to  this,  on  the  12th  of  May,  Eear  Admiral  DuPont 
had  requested  the  Navy  Department  to  arrest  Chief  Engineer 
Stimers  and  send  him  to  Charleston  to  be  tried  on  the  following 
charges  : 

Charges  and  Specifications  of  Charges  Preferred  hy  Bear  Admiral 
Samuel  F.  DuPont,  Commanding  South  Atlantic  Blockading 


Squadron,  against   Chief  Engineer  Allan  C.  Stimers,   United 
States  Nam/. 

Charge  First  :  Falsehood. 

"  Specification. — In  this:  that  between  the  eleventh  and  fif- 
teenth days  of  April,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-three,  the  said 
Alban  0.  Stimers,  a  chief  engineer  in  the  United  States  navy,  being 
then  on  board  the  steamship  Arago,  by  the  authority  and  direction 
of  Hear  Admiral  Samuel  F.  DuPont,  commanding  the  South  Atlan- 
tic blockading  squadron — the  said  Arago  being  on  her  passage  from 
PortEoyal,  South  Carolina,  to  New  York  City,  via  Charleston  bar — 
did,  at  the  table  of  said  steamer,  in  the  presence  of  officers  of  said 
steamer  and  other  persons,  a  number  of  whom  were  correspondents 
of  the  public  press,  and  at  divers  other  times  during  the  passage  of 
said  steamer,  falsely  assert,  knowing  the  same  to  be  untruis,  that  he 
was  told  by  one  or  more  of  the  commanders  of  the  iron-clad  vessels 
engaged  in  the  attack  upon  the  forts  and  batteries  in  Charleston 
harbor,  on  the  seventh  day  of  April,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty- 
three,  that  the  attack  of  that  day  ought  to  have  been  renewed;  and 
that  they  did  further  state  to  him  that  the  said  iron-clad  vessels 
were  in  fit  condition  to  renew  it;  and  the  said  Alban  C.  Stimers  did 
further  falsely  assert,  knowing  the  same  to  be  untrue,  that  several 
of  the  commanders  of  the  said  iron-clad  vessels  had  said  to  him  in 
his  presence  and  hearing  that  they,  the  said  commanders,  were, 
after  the  attack  aforesaid,  '  hot  for  renewing  the  engagement,' or 
words  to  that  effect. 

"  Charge  Second:  Conduct  unbecoming  an  officer  of  the  navy. 

"  Specification. — In  this:  that  between  the  eleventh  and  fif- 
teenth days  of  April  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-three,  the  said 
Alban  C.  Stimers,  a  chief  engineer  in  the  United  States  navy,  being 
then  on  board  the  steamship  Arago,  by  the  authority  and  direction 
of  Hear  Admiral  S.  F.  DuPont,  commanding  South  Atlantic  block- 
ading squadron — the  said  Arago  being  on  her  passage  from  Port 
Royal,  South  Carolina,  to  New  York  City  via  Charleston  bar — did, 
at  the  table  of  said  steanier,  in  the  presence  of  officers  of  the  said 
steamer  and  other  persons,  a  number  of  whom  were  correspondents 


of  the  public  press,  and  at  divers  other  times  during  the  passag< 
the  said  steamer,  with  the  intent  to  disparage  and  injure  the  j 
fessional  reputation  of  his  superior  officer,  Hear  Admiral  S. 
DuPont,  criticise  and  condemn,  in  terms  unbecoming  the  circi 
stances  and  his  position  as  an  officer  of  the  navy,  the  professio 
conduct  of  his  superior  officer,  Rear  Admiral  S.  F.  DuPont,  in 
attack  upon  the  forts  and  batteries  in  Charleston  harbor  onthesi 
enth  day  of  April,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-three,  and  did,  w 
the  like  intent,  knowingly  make  false  statements,  using,  amo 
other  improper  and  unfounded  expressions,  words  in  substance 
follows:  '  That  the  monitors  were  in  as  good  condition  on  Wedn 
day,  the  eighth  day  of  April,  eighteen  hundred  and  sixty-thr 
after  they  had  undergone  some  slight  repairs,  to  renew  the 
tack,  as  they  had  been  to  commence  it  the  day  before;  that  tl 
could  go  into  Charleston  in  spite  of  guns,  torpedoes,  and  obstr 
tions,  and  that  Hear  Admiral  DuPont  was  too  much  prejudii 
against  the  monitors  to  give  them  a  fair  trial. ' 

Instead  of  sending  the  accused   officer  to  DuPont  for  trial 
court-martial   the  department  convened  a  court  of  inquiry  at 
Brooklyn  navy  yard  to  investigate  the  truth  of  the  charges  and 
port  regarding  them.     This  court  was   composed  of  Eear  Adm 
Francis  H.  Gregory,  Eear  Admiral  Silas  H.  Stringham,  and  C< 
modore  William  C.  Nicholson,  all   old  and    distinguished  offici 
but  by  training  and  professional  associations  more   apt  to  lean 
wards  DuPont's  side  of  the  issue  than  to  feel  any  sympathy 
Stimers  and  the  mechanical  innovations  represented  by  him. 
Edwin  M.  Stoughton  was  named  as  judge  advocate,  but  that  g 
tleman  refused  to  act,   and  appeared  in  the    case    as  counsel 
Stimers.     Judge  Edward   Pierrepont   of   New  York  was  next 
pointed  judge  advocate,  and  he  too  refused  to  accept  the  ofl 
which  was  then  conferred  upon    Mr.    Hiram    L.    Sleeper.      ' 
list  of  witnesses  named  by  the  prosecution  included  the  officers 
a  number  of  passengers  of    the    Arago  and  the  commanders 
some  other  officers  of  the  rron-clads  off  Charleston. 

The  court  met  at  the  Marine  Barracks,  Brooklyn,  June 
and  continued  in  session  for  more  than  four  months,   with  si 
lengthy  adjournments  to  allow  of   the  taking  of  testimony  of 


nesses  on  duty  with  the  fleet  at  Charleston,  which  was  done  by 
means  of  written  interrogatories  and  cross-interrogatories  according 
to  the  terms  of  a  formal  stipulation  between  the  judge  advocate  and 
the  counsel  for  the  accused  which  was  spread  on  the  pages  of  the 
record.  The  testimony  presented  by  the  prosecution  was  generally 
favorable  to  Mr.  Stimers  and  failed  to  substantiate  the  charges  and 
specifications  made  against  him.  As  printed  in  the  public  document 
before  referred  to  as  the  source  of  information  for  the  facts  pre- 
sented in  this  chapter  it  is  too  long  to  admit  of  an  analytical  review 
in  this  place,  which  review  is  therefore  omitted  in  favor  of  the  care- 
ful one  made  by  Chief  Engineer  Stimers  in  his  written  defense  ;  a 
most  manly  and  straightforward  argument  which  was  submitted  to 
the  court  on  the  19th  of  October  and  is  here  reproduced  in  full  : 

"May  itplease  this  honorable  court:  ^s*-.*ma*~-  , 

"  The  testimony  introduced  by  .the  Judge  Advocate  to  sustain  the 
charges  made  against  me  by  Rear  Admiral  DuPont  is  now  closed. 
Acting  in  view  of  the  proof  thus  placed  before  the  court  I  deem  it 
wholly  unnecessary  to  offer  evidence  in  reply.  The  very  foundation 
on  which  these  charges  must  rest  is  wanting,  and  hardly  an  attempt 
has  been  made  to  supply  it.  They  were  carelessly,  if  not  recklessly, 
made  by  a  high  officer  of  the  Government,  willing  to  give  them  the 
sanction  of  his  name,  apparently  without  inquiring  whether  they 
were  capable  of  proof,  or  founded  upon  worthless  rumor.  Much 
time  has  been  uselessly  spent  in  apparent  efforts  to  prove  them; 
but  anyone  attentively  .reading  the  evidence  discovers  that  the 
real  purpose  has  been  not  to  establish  the  charges  in  question,  but 
to  justify  their  author  in  failing  effectively  to  use  the  formidable 
means  for  destroying  the  defences  of  Charleston,  which  our  Govern- 
ment in  its  confidence  and  hope  had  lavished  upon  him.  That  I 
am  not  unjust  or  uncharitable  in  making  this  suggestion  will  be 
manifest  from  an  examination  of  the  charges  and  proof  which  I  will 
now  proceed  to  make. ' ' 

'  '1st.  The  first  specification  charges  me  with  having,  whilst  on 
board  the  steamer  Arago,  on  her  voyage  from  Charleston  to  New 
York,  at  table,  in  presence  of   her  officers   and   other  persons,    a 


number  of  whom  were  correspondents  of  the  public  press,  fals 
asserted,  knowing  the  same  to  be  untrue,  that  I  was  told  by  one 
or  more  of  the  commanders  of  the  iron-clads  engaged  in  the  att: 
on  Charleston  that  it  ought  to  have  been  renewed;  that  the  vest 
were  in  a  fit  condition  to  renew  it;  and  that  several  of  the  co 
manders  had  said  to  me  that  they  were  hot  for  renewing  I 

"A  person  observant  of  Christian  precepts,  considerate  of  ] 
duty  towards  a  fellow  man,  or  actuated  by  self  respect,  woul 
before  deliberately  framing  a  charge  calculated  to  consign  a  brotl 
officer  to  disgrace  and  infamy,  have  inquired  carefully  into  its  tru 
and  the  means  of  establishing  it.  Indeed,  he  would  hardly  ha 
been  content  to  make  it  before  conversing  personally  with  th< 
capable  of  proving  it;  and  then  a  just  man  would  have  withheld  I 
accusation,  so  painful  for  a  gentleman  to  bear,  until  satisfied  tl 
his  witnesses  were  entitled  to  full  credit.  The  course  which  i 
accuser  has  seen  fit  to  pursue  presents  a  wide  departure  from  1 
path  thus  indicated.  The  names  of  persons  who  were  on  board  1 
Arago  during  the  voyage  were  appended  as  witnesses  to  the  charj 
made,  and  most  of  them  have  been  examined.  It  appears  tha 
sat  at  the  public  table  of  the  steamer  in  the  immediate  neighborhc 
of  several  other  persons,  all  no  doubt  accessible  to  my  accuser, 
to  those  seeking  to  support  the  charges.  If,  therefore,  I,  duri 
the  voyage,  used  the  language  imputed  to  me,  it  was  susceptible 
easy  proof.  Not  a  particle  of  testimony  to  that  effect  has,  howev 
been  furnished.  No  one  pretends  I  ever  said  that  any  commam 
of  the  iron-clads  had  stated  to  me  either  that  the  attack  on  Charl 
ton  ought  to  have  been  renewed,  or  that  the  iron-clads  were  in  a 
condition  to  do  so,  or  that  their  commanders  were  hot  for  renew 
the  engagement.  No  language  bearing  the  least  resemblance  to  t 
charged  is  proven  to  have  been  uttered  by  me  at  any  time ;  and  I 
bound  to  assume  that  neither  of  the  witnesses  named  ever  sta 
otherwise  than  they  have  sworn  here.  If  not,  then  upon  what 
formation  could  the  charges  in  qnestion  have  been  framed  ?  Was 
believed  that  they  could  be  proven  ?  And  if  not,  were  they  wa 
only  made,  so  that  upon  pretense  of  sustaining  them,  the  na 
inactivity,  painful  to  a  whole  nation,   might  be  iustified  by  pr 


quite  irrelevant  to  the  charges  being  tried,  and  therefore  quite  likely 
to  pass  uncontradicted  by  me  ? 

"2d.  The  second  charge  made  against  me  is  for  conduct  unbe- 
coming an  officer  of  the  navy,  and  specifies,  in  substance,  that  at 
the  table  of  said  steamei ,  and  elsewhere  on  board  of  her,  during  the 
passage,  I  criticised  and  condemned,  in  terms  unbecoming  the  cir- 
cumstances, the  professional  conduct  of  Rear  Admiral  DuPont,  by 
stating  that  the  monitors  were  in  as  good  condition  on  the  8th  day 
of  April,  1863,  after  they  had  undergone  some  slight  repairs,  to 
renew  the  attack,  as  they  had  been  to  commence  it  the  day  before. 
That  they  could  go  into  Charleston  in  spite  of  guns,  torpedoes 
and  obstructions;  but  that  Admiral  DuPont  was  too  much  pre- 
judiced against  the  monitors  to  give  them  a  fair  trial. 

' '  Now  if,  under  the  circumstances,  I  had  stated  all  that  is 
charged,  it  would,  in  my  judgment,  have  been  no  more  than  I  was 
authorized  to  say.  I  had  been  charged  by  the  government  with  the 
important  duty  of  inspecting  the  construction  and  armament  of  the 
vessels  whilst  they  were  being  made.  They  were  new  in  the  history 
of  the  world;  but  in  the  contest  between  the  Monitor  and  Merrimao 
although  the  latter  on  the  day  previous  had  defied  a  fleet  of  our 
largest  frigates,  carrying  an  armament  fifty  times  greater  than  the 
Monitor,  destroying  some  and  threatening  all  with  the  same  fate, 
yet  the  Monitor,  working  her  two  eleven  inch  guns  behind  an  invul- 
nerable shield,  tested  her  powers,  offensive  and  defensive,  by  so 
terrible  an  ordeal  that  intelligent  and  unprejudiced  men  here  and  in 
Europe  from  that  hour  saw  that  naval  supremacy  must  be  main- 
tained, if  at  all,  by  abandoning  wooden  ships  and  adopting  those 
which  the  genius,  engineering  skill,  and  ripe,  practical  knowledge 
of  their  author  had  taught  the  world  how  to  construct.  My  know- 
ledge of  this  class  of  war  vessels  had  been  acquired  not  only  by 
watching  and  inspecting  their  construction  step  by  step,  but  under 
the  orders  of  the  government  I  had  enjoyed  the  good  fortune  of 
participating  in  the  contest  to  which  I  have  referred,  and  which  had 
developed  the  capacity  of  the  Monitor  system  to  sustain  unharmed 
the  fire  of  heavy  guns  at  short  range,  and  at  the  same  time  to  in- 
flict deadly  injuries  upon  an  adversary's  ship  of  great  power  heavily 


sheathed  in  iron.  With  an  experience  thus  gained  I  might,  as 
think,  have  justly  claimed  the  right  to  express  an  opinion  as  to  1 
value  and  capacities  of  the  monitors,  even  had  this  differed  from  1 
views  entertained  by  Hear  Admiral  DuPont,  whose  knowledge  cc 
cerning  them  was  probably  derived  from  casual  inspection  and  t 
reports  of  others.  Moreover,  I  was  charged  by  the  Governing 
with  the  duty  of  proceeding  to  Charleston  to  watch  and  report  t 
performance  of  these  vessels  in  action,  to  assist  in  maintaining  the 
in  readiness  for  battle,  and  afford  to  the  officers  having  them 
charge  such  information  as  might  be  needful. 

"In  addition  to  all  this  it  may  here  be  proper  to  say  that  al 
great  expense  shells  had  been  devised  by  Captain  Ericsson,  1 
author  of  the  Monitor  system,  which,  in  connexion  with  rafts  to 
attached  to  the  bows  of  vessels,  were  to  be  used  for  removing 
means  of  explosive  force,  obstructions  within  the  harbor,  and 
firing  torpedoes  supposed  to  be  sunk  by  the  enemy  in  the  track 
our  advancing  fleet.  The  effectiveness  of  these  shells  had  been 
tested  by  me,  before  they  were  sent  to  Admiral  DuPont,  as  to  mi 
it  clear  to  my  mind  and  to  that  of  the  government  that  they  wo 
be  practically  safe  and  capable  of  clearing  the  track  of  battle, 
strongly  urged  Admiral  DuPont  to  use  these  shells,  and  reques 
permission  to  participate  in  the  action  of  the  7th,  on  board  a  mc 
tor  which  should  be  thus  armed.  The  privilege  was  denied  to  i 
and  although  in  view  of  supposed  obstructions,  I  had  expressed 
Admiral  DuPont  and  to  his  officers  the  opinion  that  the  monil 
could  successfully  pass  them,  my  confidence  in  expressing  it  ■ 
greatly  strengthened  by,  and  somewhat  founded  upon,  the  assui 
tion  that  these  shells  were  to  be  employed,  and  this  the  Adm 
knew.  He  nevertheless  declined  to  order  their  employment 
thus  was  lost  to  the  government  and  nation  a  powerful  means 
penetrating  to  the  cradle  of  this  great  rebellion. 

"Under  these  circumstances,  and  well  aware  that  the  gov< 
ment  had  expected  much  from  the  attack  upon  Charleston  with 
abundant  means  furnished  to  the  rear  admiral  commanding,  I 
greatly  disappointed  that  the  important  instruments  I  have  men  tic 
were  not  used  by  him,  especially  as  I  believed  (an  as  an  earnes 
my  conviction  had  offered  to  hazard  my  life  and  limb)  that  ' 


shells  attached  to  the  monitors  they  could  pass  all  obstructions  and 
hold  the  city  of  Charleston  at  their  mercy. 

"All  this  was  certainly  calculated  to  awaken  in  my  mind  criti- 
cism upon  the  conduct  of  Bear  Admiral  Dupont,  which,  as  the  evidence 
shows,  I  refrained  from  expressing,  maintaining  a  reserve,  not  merely 
respectful  to  him,  but  calculated  to  defend  him  from  the  censures 
freely  and  openly  cast  upon  him  for  failing  to  renew  the  attack  of 
the  7th  of  April. 

' '  I  will  now  briefly  examine  the  proof  introduced  to  maintain 
the  second  charge,  the  mere  reading  of  which  will  show  that  even  if 
I  had  said  all  that  is  charged  against  me,  it  was  but  the  statement 
of  views  which,  if  honest,  I  had  a  right  in  common  with  all  other 
persons  to  express.  Entertaining  the  opinion,  and  officially  report- 
ing it  as  I  did  to  Kear  Admiral  DuPont,  that  the  monitors  were  on 
the  8th  substantially,  for  practical  purposes,  as  fit  to  renew  the  attack 
as  they  had  been  to  make  it  on  the  day  previous.  1  was  bound 
neither  by  courtesy  nor  by  any  rule  of  the  service  with  which  I  am 
acquainted,  to  withhold  or  conceal  it;  and  believing,  as  I  certainly 
did,  that  the  monitors,  with  the  rafts  and  shells  attached,  could  have 
gone  into  Charleston  in  spite  of  guns,  torpedoes  and  obstructions,  I 
was  equally  entitled  to  state,  in  respectful  language,  that  opinion 
also;  and,  moreover,  I  think  the  disrespect,  if  there  be  any,  in  im- 
puting to  Kear  Admiral  DuPont  prejudice  against  the  monitors,  was 
so  slight  that  his  self-respect  can  hardly  have  been  increased  by 
noticing  it.  Indeed,  whilst  there  is  no  proof  in  the  case  that  I  ever 
charged  him  with  entertaining  this  prejudice,  and  whilst  by  assert- 
ing that  I  did,  he,  by  implication  at  least,  denies  the  existence  of 
the  prejudice  so  imputed,  the  evidence  introduced  on  his  behalf  very 
clearly  established  that  he  was  prepossessed  against  them,  for  Cap- 
tain Drayton  in  substance  declares  he  don't  think  Admiral  DuPont 
had  a  high  opinion  of  the  monitors,  and  that  he  could  not  have  had 
after  reading  his  (Drayton's)  reports  concerning  them,  made  before  the 

"  What  these  reports  were  does  not  appear,  but  that  the  witness 
believed  he  had  succeeded  in  instilling  into  the  admiral's  mind  his 
own  unfavorable  opinion  is  quite  clear. 

"The  proof,  however,  fails  to  show  that  I  made  the  statement 
charged  against  me.     The  evidence  on  this  subject  consists  of  the 


testimony  of  Captain  Gadsden,  of  the  Arago,  and  of  several  other 
persons  who  were  on  board  of  that  steamer  during  her  voyage  from 
Charleston  to  New  York.  He  says  in  substance  that  I  stated  that 
the  monitors  had  received  no  serious  injury;  that  they  could  be  re- 
paired in  a  few  hours;  that  the  trial  ought  not  to  condemn  them;  that 
they  had  not  had  a  fair  trial ;  that  with  the  shells  attached  to  them 
they  could  go  in.  He  further  swore  that  I  said  the  officers  of  the 
navy  were  prejudiced  against  the  monitors,  but  that  I  mentioned  no 
one  in  particular,  and  did  not  reflect  upon  Admiral  DuPont. 

"  The  purser  of  the  Arago  testified  that  I  said  the  officers  of  the 
navy  were  rather  prejudiced  against  them,  but  that  I  spoke  of  Ad- 
miral DuPont  personally  in  the  highest  terms.  Mr.  Colwell  swore 
that  those  on  board  the  Arago  were  much  excited  about  the  fight  at 
Charleston,  and  condemned  the  admiral  for  his  failure;  but  he  did  not 
intimate  that  I  took  part  in  such  conversation,  stating  only  that  I 
said  the  monitors  were  very  little  injured,  and  were  repaired  in  about 
five  hours;  that  I  was  respectful  in  my  remarks  concerning  Admiral 

DuPont:  and  although  this  witness  said  he  at  one  time  was  under 
the  impression  that  I  had  said  the  admiral  was  prejudiced  against 

the  monitors,  he  afterwards  stated  that  I  might  not  have  said  so,  but 
that  as  the  passengers  generally  united  in  condemning  him,  the  wit- 
ness may  have  confounded  their  statements  with  mine. 

"Mr.  Fulton,  in  his  testimony,  states  that  my  conversations 
with  him  on  the  subject  of  the  attack  were  private,  and  in  an  under- 
tone, and  that  I  said  I  had  sometimes  retired  to  my  stateroom  to 
avoid  being  questioned;  that  I  said  the  attack  was  not  an  earnest 
one,  and  expressed  disappointment  that  the  shells  were  not  employed, 
but  did  not  say  the  monitors  could  have  entered  the  harbor  without 
them,  nor  that  the  admiral  was  prejudiced  against  the  monitors,  but 
that  I  did  say  he  would  have  renewed  the  attack  but  for  the  influ- 
ence of  some  of  those  who  were. 

"  Mr.  Mars,  a  passenger,  testified  that  I  appeared  not  to  wish 
to  speak  on  the  subject  of  the  attack,  and  that  although  he  sat  op- 
posite to  me  at  the  table,  he  did  not  hear  me  say  that  the  admiral 
was  prejudiced. 

1 '  Having  thus  failed   to  prove  that   I  had  uttered  any  of  the 

language  as  charged,  and  it  appearing  upon  the  evidence  that  I  had 

spoken  of  Eear  Admiral  DuPont  in  high  terms,  studiously  refraining 


from  talking  upon  the  subject  of  the  attack,  it  appeared  to  me 
remarkable  that  the  prosecution,  instead  of  acknowledging  the  in- 
justice of  these  charges,  should  persist  in  calling  witnesses  to  prove 
that  the  monitors  were  seriously  injured  in  their  attack  upon  the 
forts,  and  could  not  have  renewed  it  without  probable  disaster. 

"  Whilot  this  attempt  has  signally  failad,  it  has  nevertheless 
disclosed  the  real  purpose  of  this  prosecution  to  have  been,  not  an 
inquiry  into  any  language  or  conduct  of  mine,  but,  under  that  pre- 
text, an  effort  to  justify  the  failure  by  Eear  Admiral  DuPont,  which 
had  attracted  the  observation  of  the  world,  by  condemning  as  inade- 
quate the  instruments  which  a  liberal  government  had  placed  in  his 

"  His  desire  to  justify  himself  was  natural,  but  that  he  should 
have  been  willing  to  achieve  even  his  own  vindication  by  making 
and  persisting  in  prosecuting  unfounded  charges  against  a  brother 
officer,  is  extraordinary.  How  utterly  he  has  failed  to  accomplish 
this  a  brief  examination  of  the  proofs  will  show. 

"  It  appears  from  these  that  before  the  attack  was  made  it  was 
supposed  by  Admiral  DuPont  that  torpedoes  had  been  placed  in  the 
channel  along  which  his  fleet  must  pass.  That  network  had  been 
suspended  from  buoys  designed  to  entangle  the  propellers  and  thus 
prevent  their  action,  and  that  for  some  purpose  piles  had  been  placed 
across  the  middle  ground  to  obstruct  the  entrance  of  monitors  from 
that  direction.  It  moreover  appears,  especially  from  a  careful  read- 
ing of  the  deposition  of  Commander  C.  R.  P.  Rodgers,  the  admiral's 
fleet  captain,  that  no  additional  information  upon  either  of  these  sub- 
jects was  obtained  by  means  of  the  attack.  After  that  was  over,  the 
existence  of  torpedoes,  of  network  and  the  purpose  of  the  piles  were 
shrouded  in  the  same  mystery  as  before.  It  was  ascertained,  how- 
ever, that  if  torpedoes  lurked  in  the  channel,  they  were  probably 
harmless,  for  none  had  been  exploded;  and  that  they  were  incapable 
of  being  fired  is  shown  by  the  letter  referred  to  by  this  witness, 
written  by  a  rebel  officer  in  Fort  Sumter,  stating  that  the  effort  to 
explode  a  torpedo  whilst  directly  under  the  hull  of  the  Ironsides  had 


"  We  must  therefore  accept  it  as  established,  that  as  no  infor- 
mation was  obtained  during  the  conflict  which  could  be  used  to 
strengthen  the  surmises  before  existing  as  to  the  character  of  these 


obstructions,  their  supposed  existence  could  not  have  afforded  ground 
for  declining  to  renew  the  engagement  which  was  not  equally  good 
as  an  objection  against  having  made  it  at  all;  and  this  being  so,  we 
must  look  for  some  other  reason  for  the  failure  of  the  admiral  to  offer 
battle  on  the  8th,  in  pursuance  of  his  declared  intention,  when  he 
gave  the  signal  for  the  monitors  to  haul  off  on  the  previous  day. 

"  It  is  true  that  some  of  this  testimony  conveys  the  impression 
that  the  fear  of  encountering  these  supposed  obstructions  was  a  con- 
trolling element  in  the  admiral's  mind  in  forming  the  determination 
not  to  renew  the  attack;  but  in  this  there  is  evident  mistake,  for  a 
brave  and  intelligent  commander  would  hardly  be  so  fearM  of  ob- 
structions which  might  or  might  not  be  real,  as  to  abandon  a  great 
enterprise  without  practical  effort  to  learn  whether  obstacles  to  its 
achievement  existed  or  not.  Against  such  a  suspicion  I  feel  disposed 
to  defend  Admiral  DuPont,  and  hence  am  constrained  to  look  else- 
where for  some  reason  why  he  failed  to  renew  an  attack  which,  if 
persisted  in,  might  have  succeeded.  His  witnesses  on  this  subject 
next  point  to  the  injuries  sustained  by  the  monitors,  and  to  their 
alleged  inability  to  withstand  a  repetition  of  the  terrible  fire  to  which 
they  were  subjected  on  the  7th.  A  glance  at  the  testimony  will  show 
how  utterly  unfounded  is  this  effort  at  an  excuse,  whilst  it  will  also 
establish  to  the  satisfaction  of  intelligent  and  unprejudiced  men  that 
the  capacity  of  the  monitors  to  resist  unharmed  the  most  terrible  fire 
from  guns  and  rifles  of  the  heaviest  calibre,  has  never  been  overstated. 
It  appears  from  the  testimony  of  the  fleet  captain  that  the  fire  to 
which  they  were  exposed  was  by  far  more  terrific  than  that  which  he 
or  anyone  connected  with  the  fleet  had  ever  before  seen.  From  fifty 
to  one  hundred  rebel  guns,  of  heavier  calibre  than  were  ever  before 
employed  against  ships-of-war,  were  brought  to  bear  upon  the  moni- 
tors at  the  same  time,  and  probably  many  more.  The  Patapsco  was 
struck  by  fifty-one  shots,  twenty-one  of  which  hit  the  turret,  and  fif- 
teen or  more  of  these — all  heavy  ball — struck  it  within  the  period  of 
five  minutes,  and  yet  at  8:30  o'clock  on  the  evening  of  the  7th  she 
was  in  a  fit  condition  to  renew  the  engagement. 

The  Nantucket  was  struck  fifty-three  times  ;  and  although  the 
mechanism  which  worked  her  XV-inch  gun  was  disordered,  this  was 
repaired  on  the  8th.  Captain  Drayton  states  that  the  top  of  the 
pilot  house  of  the  Passaic  was  raised  up  by  a  shot,  but  it  is  quite  evi- 


dent,  from  his  account  of  it,  that  this  in  no  manner  disabled  the  ves- 
sel, whilst  it  hardly  increased  the  chances  of  danger  to  those  within. 
It  sufficiently  appears  that  the  Weehawken  was  fit  to  have  renewed 
the  engagement  on  the  following  day,  although  she  was  struck  sev- 
eral times  on  her  side  armor  in  nearly  the  same  place. 

' '  Without  following  this  subject  further  in  detail,  it  is  sufficient 
to  state,  what  appears  from  the  proof,  that  each  and  all  of  the  moni- 
tors were  in  fighting  condition  within  twenty-four  hours  after  they 
came  out  of  battle,  whilst  the  injuries  received  by  them  were  so  tri- 
fling, when  the  terrible  means  employed  for  inflicting  them  were  con- 
sidered, that  they  may  be  pronounced  substantially  invulnerable  to 
the  strongest  artillery.  But  one  life  was  lost  on  board  of  them  dur- 
ing the  conflict ;  and  whilst  one  or  two  of  the  turrets  were  by  the  im- 
pact of  shot  partially  prevented  from  turning  until  repaired,  it  should 
be  remembered  that,  turning  by  their  rudders,  each  could  at  all  times 
present  her  guns  to  the  enemy  at  pleasure.  Indeed,  it  was  partly  by 
this  means  that  the  guns  of  the  Monitor  were  brought  to  bear  on  the 
Merrimac  in  that  first  engagement  of  ironclads  to  which  I  have  be- 
fore referred.  One  of  the  witnesses  has  suggested  that  if  other  shots 
had  struck  in  the  same  place  as  previous  ones,  the  armor  might  have 
been  endangered.  Entertaining,  as  I  do,  the  opposite  opinion,  I 
would  suggest  that  even  if  the  witness  was  correct,  he  anticipates  a 
hazard  too  remote  to  be  much  apprehended  :  for  it  is  well  known  that 
the  chances  that  one  shot  will  strike  exactly  where  a  previous  one 
had  hit,  are  very  slight. 

"  The  Keokuk,  an  ironclad  vessel,  but  not  built  upon  the  plan 
of  the  monitors,  was  almost  immediately  disabled,  having  fired  but 
three  guns  at  the  enemy;  and  the  Ironsides,  a  much  stronger  and 
better  armed  ship,  although  she  escaped  serious  injury,  no  doubt 
owed  this  to  the  temporary  means  employed  to  strengthen  her  before 
going  into  action,  and  to  the  care  exercised  in  keeping  her  at  a  great 
distance  from  the  enemy's  guns. 

"  That  this  distance  was  maintained  is  apparent  from  the  testi- 
mony of  the  fleet  captain,  who  stated  in  substance,  that  when  the 
order  was  signalled  for  the  monitors  to  retire  from  the  conflict  they 
all  passed  the  Ironsides  in  moving  out.  This  shows  that  .they  were 
inside  of  her  and  much  closer  to  the  enemy's  batteries ;  and  how 
much  nearer  may  be  inferred  from  his  cross-examination,  in  which  he 


states  that  twenty  minutes  may  have  elapsed  before  the  last  of  the 
monitors  passed  by.  They  engaged  the  batteries  within  six  hundred 
yards,  and  it  need  hardly  be  suggested,  that  no  ship  not  constructed 
upon  their  plan  could  have  lived  under  the  heavy  fire  to  which,  at 
that  distance,  they  were  subjected. 

I  here  close  what  I  have  thought  it  well  to  say  concerning  this 
attempt  by  Kear.  Admiral  DuPont  to  justify  his  inaction  and  failure 
by  attacking  that  system  of  war  vessels  which  has  already,  in  my 
opinion,  given  us  a  more  effective  fleet  than  is  possessed  by  any 
other  nation.  A  judicious  use  of  these  vessels  might  have  transmit- 
ted his  name  with  honor  far  into  the  future.  An  assault  upon  the 
system  can  but  recoil  upon  the  assailant.  From  me  it  needs  no  de- 
fense. Time  and  battle  will  but  confirm  the  opinions  I  have  ex- 
pressed concerning  it,  whilst  its  adoption  by  the  nations  of  the  world 
will  bear  unfailing  testimony  to  the  great  skill  and  foresight  of  its 

"  With  these  remarks  I  submit  my  case  to  the  just  consideratio* 
of  this  honorable  Court.  ( 

"  Yery  respectfully, 

(Signed)  "  Alban  C.   Stimeks; 

"  Chief  Engineer,  United  States  Navy. 
"Naval  Lyceum,  New  York,  October  19,  1863." 

The  next  day,  October  20,  the  court  met  for  its  last  session  and 
added  the  following  finding  to  its  record  : 

"  The  court  having  diligently  and  fully  inquired  into  the  mat- 
ters embraced  in  the  specifications  of  charges  in  this  case,  hereby  re- 
port that,  in  their  opinion,  there  is  no  necessity  or  propriety  for  fur- 
ther proceedings  in  the  case." 

Rear  Admiral  DuPont  was  an  eminent  and  capable  naval  officer 
of  the  old  school,  but  of  too  long  service  and  of  too  fixed  ideas  to 
yield  before  a  development  that  entirely  upset  all  the  naval  methods 
of  his  lifetime,  and  by  standing  in  the  way  of  the  march  of  progress, 
instead  of  gracefully  stepping  aside  and  admitting  the  competence 
of  a  mechanical  generation,  he  was  run  over  and  humiliated  by  a 
power  more  potent  than  he  had  imagined.  In  a  time  of  peace  when 
the  public  is  indifferent  to  the  navy  and  its  advancement  the  con- 


servative  opinions  of  its  veteran  officers  usually  prevail  and  prevent 
changes  in  methods  or  material  that  involve  any  great  departure 
from  -what  has  existed  so  long  as  to  become  custom,  but  in  time  of 
war  sentiment  and  dogma  must  yield  to  practical  utility,  and  the 
irresistible  power  of  public  opinion  will  always  force  this  submission. 
Assistant  Secretary  of  the  Navy,  Fox,  was  from  his  own  training 
probably  the  most  competent  official  connected  with  the  Navy  De- 
partment during  the  war  to  judge  of  the  characteristics  of  the 
officers  of  the  navy.  In  a  letter  written  by  him  to  John  Ericsson 
in  1864  he  summed  up  in  the  following  manner  the  actual  attitude 
of  Bear  Admiral  DuPont  towards  the  new  iron-clad  war-vessels  : 

"He  is  of  a  wooden  age,  eminent  in  that,  but  in  an  engineer- 
ing age  behind  the  time.  You  were  always  opposed  to  attacking 
forts,  but  DuPont  deBpised  the  vessels  and  the  brain  that  conceived 

The  "  old  school  "  of  navalism  means  a  great  deal  unknown  to 
the  officers  of  the  present  generation  if  all  the  testimony  of  the  past 
may  be  depended  upon.  A  very  curious  condition  of  affairs  was 
allowed  to  grow  up  in  our  navy  during  that  long  period  of  compara- 
tive inactivity,  interrupted  only  by  the  Mexican  War,  which  inter- 
vened between  the  end  of  the  last  war  with  Great  Britain  and  the 
outbreak  of  the  rebellion.  "  The  commodore  of  the  period  was  an 
august  personage  who  went  to  sea  in  a  great  flag-ship,  surrounded 
by  a  conventional  grandeur  which  was  calculated  to  inspire  a  becom- 
ing respect  and  awe.  Ab  the  years  of  peace  rolled  on,  this  figure 
became  more  and  more  august,  more  and  more  conventional.  The 
fatal  defects  of  the  system  were  not  noticed  until  1861,  when  the 
crisis  came,  and  the  service  was  unprepared  to  meet  it. " 1  Sur- 
rounded thus  with  much  of  the  pomp  and  dignity  of  a  court  and  in- 
vested with  what  some  of  the  admirers  of  that  old  regime  have  been 
pleased  to  call  "  kingly  power, "  it  is  no  wonder  that  the  average 
commodore  lost  sight  of  his  true  relation  to  the  civil  head  of  the 
navy  and,  unconsciously  perhaps,  came  to  regard  him  as  merely  a 
secretary,  in  fact  as  well  as  in  title,  interposed  somewhat  unneces- 

1  Professor  J.  B.  Soley,  in  Battles  and  Leaders  of  the  Civil  War:  Vol.  I,  p.  623. 


earily  between  himself  and  the  chief  executive.  Instances  are  not 
lacking  of  commanders-in-chief  of  squadrons  abroad  ignoring  or 
mis-interpreting  orders  sent  themifrom  the  department,  and  there  is 
at  least  one  case  on  record  of  a  commodore  issuing  an  order,  upon 
taking  command  of  a  squadron  in  a  remote  part  of  the  world,  abol- 
ishing all  regulations  of  the  Navy  Department  except  such  as  had 
been  approved  by  the  President. 

Under  these  influences  and  surroundings  Samuel  F.  DuPont  had 
acquired  step  by  step  his  naval  education  and  beliefs  through  all  the 
monotonous  years  from  a  midshipman  in  1815  to  within  two  num- 
bers of  being  the  senior  rear  admiral  in  1863.  The  sentiments  ex- 
pressed by  him  in  his  correspondence  with  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy 
are  therefore  not  surprising,  although  they  would  be  actually  start- 
ling if  attempted  at  the  present  day.  When  the  court  of  inquiry  had 
finally  disposed  of  the  Stimers  case,  DuPont,  under  date  of  October 
22nd,  broke  the  silence  that  he  had  observed  since  being  detached 
from  his  command  and  sent  a  letter  to  the  department  that  is  one  of 
the  most  instructive  documents  ever  made  public,  its  expressions  pro- 
viding us  with  a  perfect  mirror  of  the  mind  of  the  old  navy.  A  few 
of  them  are  repeated  as  illustrative  examples. 

"  It  is  with  profound  regret  that  I  perceive  in  your  despatch  of 
the  26th  of  June  a  reiteration  of  the  charges  and  reproaches  of  previous 
despatches  and  in  your  silence  since,  during  a  period  of  three  months, 
a  resolution  not  to  recall  them.  My  last  hope  of  justice  at  the  hands 
of  the  department  is  therefore  extinguished. 

"  If  I  have  failed  in  my  duty  I  am  liable  to  trial,  but  insulting 
imputations  in  official  despatches  are  grave  wrongs,  perpetrated  on 
the  public  records  to  my  permanent  injury. 

' '  The  remedy  which  the  law  would  afford  me  against  a  superior 
officer  indulging  in  the  language  of  your  despatches  does  not  exist 
against  the  civil  head  of  the  department. 

"I  was  aware  of  the  visit  of  the  Assistant  Secretary  to 
Charleston,  but  I  learn  with  surprise  from  your  despatch  that, 
without  a  commission  in  the  navy,  he  commanded  the  expedition 
which  witnessed  the  bombardment  of  Sumter  without  relieving  it. 

"  I  have  no  desire  to  question  the  power  of  the  department  to 
relieve  me  at  its  discretion,  but  its  order  of  the  3d  of  June  assigns 


causes  which  do  not  exist,  and  ascribed  to  me  opinions  which  I  had 
neither  expressed  nor  entertained." 

Secretary  Welles,  after  a  delay  of  about  two  weeks,  replied  to 
this  letter  without  resentment,  reviewing  the  whole  subject  at  great 
length  and  giving  reasons  in  justification  of  the  course  pursued  by 
the  department  that  were  considerate,  even  if  not  necessary.  The 
general  tone  of  the  communication  impresses  one  as  conveying 
fatherly  sorrow  rather  than  the  expression  of  offended  authority,  the 
only  passage  in  it  that  may  fairly  be  considered  harsh  being  the 
following  review  of  DuPont's  operations  at  Charleston  : 

"You  disapproved  of  the  occupancy  of  the  harbor,  yet  I  am 
not  aware  that  you  ever  caused  or  attempted  to  have  a  reconnois- 
sance  of  the  obstructions  or  any  examination  of  the  harbor  made 
before  the  attack,  nor  am  I  aware  that  you  have  ever  offered  an 
excuse  for  this  omission.  After  the  attack  was  made  you  were  dis- 
satisfied with  the  Ironsides — dissatisfied  with  the  monitors — 
dissatisfied  with  Chief  Engineer  Stimers,  against  whom  you  pre- 
pared charges  and  desired  that  he  might  be  arrested  and  sent  to  you 
for  trial,  he  having  expressed  his  surprise  that  you  should  abandon 
the  assault  on  so  brief  an  effort — dissatisfied  with  Surgeon  Kershner, 
whom  you  court-martialed  for  a  similar  offense — dissatisfied  with 
Mr.  Fulton,  the  special  agent  of  the  Post  Office  Department,  for 
his  criticisms  on  your  movements  and  acts — dissatisfied  with  the 
President  for  his  telegram,  and  dissatisfied  with  the  department  for 
not  more  promptly  and  formally  acknowledging  and  publishing 
your  reports. 

"If  these  complaints  and  reports,  wherein  the  admiral  of  the 
squadron  devoted  so  large  a  portion  of  his  time  to  his  personal 
matters  and  so  little  towards  marshalling  his  force  for  the  occupa- 
tion of  the  harbor  of  Charleston  and  the  capture  of  the  city,  were 
not  received  with  the  patience  to  which  they  were  entitled,  it  was  my 
misfortune.  I  do  not  deny  that  it  would  have  been  more  accept- 
able to  the  department  to  have  witnessed  the  zeal  manifested  in 
hunting  down  newspaper  editors,  engineers,  and  surgeons,  directed 
against  rebel  enemies  and  to  the  destruction  of  their  works.'5 

This  correspondence  terminated  the  controversy  and  also  con- 


eluded  Bear  Admiral  DuPont's  active  participation  in  the  executive 
administration  of  the  operations  of  the  Navy  Department,  for  he 
remained  unemployed,  on  waiting  orders,  until  his  death,  which 
occured  in  June,  1865,  soon  after  the  close  of  the  war.  It  was  the 
fault  of  the  system  under  who*e  influence  his  life  had  been  passed 
rather  than  from  any  personal  short-coming  of  his  own  that  the  last 
years  of  his  life  were  embittered.  "There  was  no  more  accom- 
plished officer  in  our  naval  service  than  Admiral  DuPont,  no  man 
of  nobler  personality,  but  he  was  the  very  incarnation  of  naval 
exclusiveness  and  prejudice  against  innovation,  and  the  introduction 
of  the  monitors  into  our  navy  gave  a  shock  to  his  sensibilities  from 
which  they  never  recovered.  It  may  be  that  he  was  expected  to 
accomplish  with  them  more  than  was  possible  in  his  attack  upon 
Charleston,  but  he  was  disposed  to  exaggerate  their  deficiencies  and 
to  criticise  them  in  a  spirit  of  unfriendliness  that  arrayed  against 
him  the  active  hostility  of  their  champions."1 

»W.  C.  Church,  Life  of  John  Ericsson;  Vol.  II.,  p.  64-65. 


"  In  the  beauties  of  the  lilies  Christ  was  born  beyond  the  sea, 
With  a  glory  in  his  bosom  that  transfigures  you  and  me  ; 
As  he  died  to  make  men  holy,  let  us  die  to  make  men  free  ; 
While  God  is  marching  on." 
Julia  Wakd  Howe;  Battle-hymn  of  the  Republic. 

1864. — The  Civil  War,  Continued— Confederate  Successes  in  the  Use  of  Torpedoes 
— Blowing  up  of  the  Sloop-of-War  Housatonic — Minor  Naval  Operations — 
Boiler  Explosion  on  the  Chenango — The  Kearsahge-Alabama  Fight — The 
Great  Battle  in  Mobile  Bay— Loss  of  the  TECUMSEH-Capture  of  the  Privateer 
Flokida  by  the  Wachtjsett — The  Gunboat  Otsego  sunk  by  a  Torpedo — 
First  Attack  on  Fort  Fisher. 

NAYAL  operations  during  1864  were  marked  by  a  number  of 
minor  disasters  and  by  several  decisive  victories,  the  general 
results  of  the  year  being  most  favorable  to  the  reputation  of  the  ser- 
vice. The  first  mishap  of  the  year  occurred  to  the  small  side-wheel 
steamer  Underwriter,  prominently  identified  with  the  service  of 
holding  possession  of  the  North  Carolina  Sounds  during  the  two 
preceding  years.  About  2  a.  m.  February  2nd  this  vessel,  while 
lying  at  anchor  in  the  Neuse  Kiver  near  Newburn,  was  boarded  in 
the  dark  by  a  force  of  over  one  hundred  men  in  boats  and  over- 
powered after  a  resistance  Of  fifteen  minutes  in  which  her  com- 
mander, Acting  Master  Westervelt,  was  killed,  and  the  crew,  num- 
bering only  forty  people  all  told,  became  prisoners  of  war.  After 
taking  off  the  prisoners  and  plundering  the  vessel  she  was  set  on 
fire  and  destroyed.  Acting  Third  Assistant  Engineer  George  E. 
Allen  and  twenty-two  of  the  men  escaped  in  a  peculiar  manner  due 
to  the  haste  of  the  enemy  and  the  courage  and  presence  of  mind  of 
Mr.  Allen.  They  were  all  driven  into  one  boat,  the  last  to  shove 
off  from  the  Underwriter,  and  were  soon  surprised  to  hear  the 
guard  in  charge  of  it  hailing  the  boat  ahead  for  assistance,  it  appear- 
ing that  in  their  hurry  to  get  away  from  the  ship  the  Confederates 
had  all  embarked  in  the  first  boats,  leaving  only  two  to  go  in  the 
last  one,  in  which  were  over  twenty  prisoners.       Quickly  realizing 




the  situation,  Mr.  Allen  snatched  the  cutlass  from  the  belt  of  the 
guard  near  him  and  thus  made  himself  master  of  the  boat,  the  other 
guard  jumping  overboard  and  swiming  for  another  boat  which  had 
turned  back.  By  hard  pulling  on  the  part  of  the  men,  Mr.  Allen 
safely  conducted  his  captured  boat  to  the  Federal  fortifications  at 
Newbern  and  at  daylight  reported  with  his  party  on  board  the  Lock- 
wood,  lying  at  that  place.  The  other  officers  and  the  remainder  of 
the  crew  became  prisoners  of  war. 

About  9  o'clock  the  evening  of  February  17th  a  Confederate 
' '  david, ' '  as  the  nearly  immersed  cigar-shaped  torpedo  boats  of  the 
enemy  came  to  be  called  from  the  name  of  one  of  the  first  of  them, 
just  as  monitor  became  a  generic  term,  approached  the  sloop-of-war 


Confederate  "david,"  or  torpedo  boat.      From   a  drawing  by  Second  Assistant 
Engineer  W.  S.  Smith  for  a  report  of  Hear  Admiral  Dahlgren. 

Housatonic,  lying  on  the  outer  blockade  off  Charleston,  and  was  not 
discovered  until  so  close  as  to  explode  a  torpedo  under  the  Housa- 
tonic,  sinking  her.  Ensign  Hazeltine,  Captain's  Clerk  Muzzy,  and 
three  men  were  drowned,  all  others  of  the  Bhip's  company  saving 
themselves  by  taking  to  the  rigging,  which  remained  above  water, 
the  boats  of  the  Oanandaigua  rescuing  them  soon  afterward.  The 
torpedo  boat  itself  also  went  to  the  bottom.  This  disaster  was  due 
to  the  excellence  in  the  use  of  torpedoes  which  had  been  arrived  at 
by  the  Confederates,  they,  in  the  absence  of  ships  to  carry  on  naval 
operations,  being  forced  to  wage  war  with  these  weapons  then  novel 
and  unusual.  The  use  of  torpedoes  was  by  no  means  a  new  thing, 
but  it  was  a  practice  rather  abhorrent  to  the  minds  of  trained  fight- 
ing men,  and  owed  its  development  by  the  naval  officers  of  the 
South  to  necessity  rather  than  desire. 


One  of  the  first  successful  uses  of  the  torpedo  in  the  Civil  War 
was  the  blowing  up  of  the  iron-clad  gun-boat  Cairo  in  the  Missis- 
sippi Eiver  in  1862,  by  a  Confederate  naval  officer  who  had  been 
taught  less  furtive  methods  of  warfare  in  the  old  navy,  and  who 
was  so  doubtful  of  the  propriety  of  the  mode  of  attack  directed  by 
him  that  he  described  his  feelings,  when  he  saw  that  the  Cairo  was 
actually  going  to  sink,  as  much  the  same  as  those  of  a  schoolboy  at 
seeing  serious  results  follow  from  something  begun  in  sport.  The 
sentiment  in  the  navy  regarding  torpedoes  at  that  time  is  well  shown 
by  some  comments  of  Rear  Admiral  Farragut,  who,  reporting  to 
the  department  in  May,  1864,  that  he  intended  to  make  use  of  them 
to  be  on  an  equality  with  his  enemy,  felt  it  necessary  to  excuse 
himself  by  explaining: 

' '  Torpedoes  are  not  so  agreeable  when  used  on  both  sides ;  there- 
fore I  have  reluctantly  brought  myself  to  it. 

"  I  have  always  deemed  it  unworthy  of  a  chivalrous  nation,  but 
it  does  not  do  to  give  your  enemy  such  a  decided  superiority  over 
you. ' ' 

In  the  hands  of  the  Confederates  torpedo  warfare  was  consider- 
ably advanced  and  torpedoes  became  the  most  formidable  weapon 
against  which  our  naval  vessels  had  to  contend,  as  well  as  the  cause  of 
the  greater  part  of  the  disasters  suffered  by  the  Federal  navy  during  the 
rebellion.  The  present  high  development  of  torpedoes  as  a  weapon 
for  naval  warfare  may  be  directly  traced  to  the  impetus  gained  by  its 
successes  during  the  Civil  War,  which  not  only  illustrated  its  great 
possibilities  but  also  overcame  any  chivalric  objections  to  its  use 
which  may  have  been  formerly  entertained  by  naval  officers. 

The  evening  of  April  18th  another  "david"  passed  through  the 
iron-clad  blockade  line  off  Charleston  and  made  for  the  big  frigate 
Wabash  lying  in  the  outer  line.  In  this  case,  however,  it  was  dis- 
covered in  time  for  the  Wabash  to  get  under  way  and  man  the  bat- 
tery, her  fire  either  destroying  or  driving  off  the  small  but  much- 
feared  adversary.  On  the  sixth  of  May  the  ferry  gunboat  Commo- 
dore Jones  while  near  Four  Mile  Creek  in  the  James  River  ran  upon 
a  moored  torpedo  and  met  with  utter  destruction,  about  one-half  of 
her  crew  being  either  killed  or  wounded.    The  next  day  the  gunboat 


Shawsheen  while  searching  for  torpedoes  near  Turkey  Bend  in  the 
same  locality  fell  a  victim  to  exposed  machinery  and  was  destroyed 
by  a  battery  suddenly  unmasked  in  the  woods,  the  first  shots  from 
which  disabled  her  by  exploding  the  steam  drum  and  breaking  the 
walking-beam  of  the  engine.  The  officers  and  crew  became  prisoners 
and  the  vessel  was  burned  by  her  captors. 

A  daring  expedition,  although  on  a  small  scale,  was  conducted 
in  March  by  Acting  Master  Champion  of  the  Pawnee,  who,  with  the 
tug  gunboat  Columbine  commanded  by  Acting  Ensign  Sanborn,  and 
a  party  of  volunteers  from  the  Pawnee,  proceeded  up  the  St.  Johns 
River  in  Florida,  captured  two  steamers,  a  large  quantity  of  cotton, 
provisions,  and  army  supplies,  and  returned  safely  to  the  ship  after 
having  been  for  two  weeks  in  the  enemy's  country  and  penetrated 
the  river  over  two  hundred  miles.  The  volunteer  party  from  the 
Pawnee  consisted  of  Second  Assistant  Engineer  Alfred  Adamson, 
Third  Assistant  Engineer  Arthur  Price,  an  acting  master's  mate,  and 
twelve  men,  all  embarked  at  first  in  a  launch  towed  by  the  Columbine, 
but  transferred  the  second  day  to  a  steamer,  the  General  Sumter,  they 
had  captured  in  Great  Lake  George.  Two  days  later  the  Sumter  en- 
countered and  captured  the  steamer  Hattie  in  Deep  Creek  and  con- 
verted her  into  a  transport  for  carrying  cotton,  machinery,  and  other 
contraband  of  war  seized  at  the  river  stations  visited.  When  taken, 
the  Hattie  was  found  disabled  by  the  Confederates,  who  in  abandon- 
ing her  had  carried  off  all  the  valves  of  the  feed  and  other  pumps 
about  the  engines  and  boilers,  but  the  ingenuity  of  Messrs.  Adamson 
and  Price  overcame  this  defect  and  soon  restored  the  steamer  to  a 
useful  condition.  Without  any  means  of  doing  better,  they  hastily 
made  valves  of  wood  which  were  found  to  answer  the  purpose  and 
enabled  the  vessel  to  do  service  until  time  permitted  more  permanent 

Two  months'  later  in  the  same  river  the  Columbine  met  the  fate 
that  had  overtaken  so  many  of  the  purchased  steamers  with  exposed 
machinery  and  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  enemy.  She  was  attacked 
by  a  battery  hidden  in  the  underbrush  along  the  bank  and  almost  at 
the  first  fire  rendered  helpless  by  a  shot  cutting  the  main  steam  pipe, 
her  surrender  following  as  the  natural  result  of  her  inability  to  move 
into  a  position  to  use  her  guns  or  get  out  of  the  range  of  fire.  Her 
people  were  taken  prisoners  and  the  enemy  burned  their  prize  with- 


out  taking  time  to  remove  anything  of  value.  The  senior  engineer 
of  the  Columbine  was  referred  to  in  the  following  complimentary 
manner  in  the  commanding  officer's  report  of  the  disaster:  "  I  take 
great  pleasure  in  recommending  to  your  favorable  notice  the  conduct 
of  Acting  Third  Assistant  Engineer  Henry  J.  Johnson,  who  coolly 
performed  his  duty  until  the  engine  became  disabled,  when  he  ren- 
dered me  the  most  valuable  assistance  on  deck. ' '  Mr.  Johnson  and 
his  assistant,  Mr.  George  Whitney,  acting  third  assistant  engineer, 
had  a  most  miserable  time  for  several  months  after  capture,  being 
moved  about  to  various  prison  pens,  jails  and  workhouses,  and 
forced  to  mix  with  felons  imprisoned  for  all  sorts  of  crimes. 

A  frightful  disaster  occurred  on  board  the  new  double-ender 
Chenango  when  she  first  sailed  from  the  city  where  she  was  built. 
This  vessel,  on  the  15th  of  April,  left  New  York,  under  the  com- 
mand of  Lieutenant  Commander  T.  S.  Fillebrown,  bound  for  Hamp- 
ton Roads;  while  passing  between  Forts  Hamilton  and  Lafayette  her 
port  boiler  suddenly  exploded  blowing  up  the  deck,  killing  twenty- 
five  of  the  crew  and  wounding  ten  others,  all  four  of  her  engineers 
being  among  the  killed.  A  court  of  inquiry  held  at  the  Brooklyn 
navy  yard  found  that  the  disaster  was  caused  by  a  defective  vein  in 
the  iron  in  the  boiler,  and  that  no  blame  or  want  of  vigilance  could 
be  ascribed  to  any  officer  of  the  vessel.  The  chief  engineer,  Mr. 
Joseph  N.  Cahill,  first  assistant  engineer,  U.  S.  Navy,  was  particu- 
larly exonerated,  he  being  known  as  one  of  the  most  careful  and 
cautious  officers  in  the  service.  The  Shenango  belonged  to  the  Sas- 
samis  class  of  double-enders  and  was  built  by  J.  Simonson,  Green- 
point,  Long  Island,  the  engines  and  boilers  being  supplied  by  the 
Morgan  Iron  Works,  New  York.  The  boilers  were  of  the  Martin 
vertical  water-tube  type  and  may  have  been  defective  in  bracing  as 
well  as  material,  as  another  of  them  had  exploded  with  fatal  results 
on  the  Lenapee  of  the  same  class  when  steam  was  raised  in  it  at  the 
contractor's  works. 

Besides  the  naval  court  of  inquiry  as  to  the  accident,  it  was  also 
investigated  by  a  coroner's  jury  which  found  the  cause  to  be  defective 
material  and  fixed  the  blame  upon  the  person  or  persons  responsible 
for  the  construction  of  the  boilers.  The  responsibility  narrowed 
down  to  Second  Assistant  Engineer  S.  Wilkins  Cragg,  who  as  an 
assistant  to  a  general  engineer  superintendent  had  been  stationed  at 


the  Morgan  Works  in  special  charge  of  the   Chenango's  machinery, 
and  he  was  dismissed  the  service  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Nary,  who 
cited  the  finding  of  the  coroner's  jury  as  the  reason  for  his  action. 
Owing  to  the  haste  with  which  vessels  were  built  in  those  days  and 
the  constant  pressure  always  bearing  upon  the  contractors  to  hurry 
their  work  along,  Mr.  Cragg  proved  that  he  was  unable  to  control 
the  nature  of  the  work  under  his  inspection  and   that   his   dismissal 
was  unjust.     About  two  years  later  he  was  restored  to  the  navy,  and 
a  few  years  afterward  resigned.     In  after  years  he  was  a  prominent 
figure  in  Paris  in  connection  with  the  street  improvements  of  that 

On  the  morning  of  June  2nd  the  TJ.  S.  Steamer  Victoria  chased 
ashore,  captured  and  set  on  fire  a  large  British  steamer  named 
Georgianna  McCaw  trying  to  run  the  blockade  into  Wilmington,  on 
which  occasion  an  engineer  officer  of  the  Victoria  greatly  distingu- 
ished himself,  as  shown  by  the  following  extracts  from  the  report  of 
the  commanding  officer: 

"I  immediately  ordered  the  first  and  second  cutters  to  board 
and  fire  her — the  former  under  command  of  Acting  Master's  Mate 
William  Moody,  the  latter  under  charge  of  Acting  Third  Assistant 
Engineer  Thomas  W.  HineHne. 

"  On  their  arrival  on  board  they  found  that  two  boats  with  their 
crews  had  escaped  to  the  shore.  They,  however,  succeeded  in  cap- 
turing twenty-nine  of  the  crew,  including  the  captain  and  most  of  the 
officers,  together  with  three  passengers.  They  fired  her  in  several 
places,  and  she  continued  to  burn  until  10  a.  m.,  when  she  was 
boarded  from  the  shore. 

"  At  daylight  Fort  Caswell  and  the  adjacent  batteries  opened 
fire  upon  our  boats  with  shot  and  shell,  which  compelled  them  to  re- 
turn without  accomplishing  her  destruction. 

"  I  would  add,  sir,  that  too  much  credit  cannot  be  awarded  to 
Acting  Master's  Mate  William  Moody  and  Acting  Third  Assistant 
Engineer  Thomas  W.  Hineline  for  their  perseverance  and  energy 
displayed,  and  their  cool  and  gallant  conduct  while  under  fire  of  the 

For  this  exploit  the  acting  master's  mate  was  made  an  acting 


ensign,  and  Mr.  Hineline  advanced  to  the  grade  of  second  assistant 
engineer,  the  following  letter  being  sent  him  by  the  department  on 
the  22nd  of  July,  1864: 

"  Sir:  For  your  cool  and  gallant  conduct  under  fire  of  the 
enemy  as  mentioned  by  Acting  Master  Everson  commanding  U.  S.  S. 
Victoria  in  his  report  of  the  attempt  to  destroy  the  blockade-runner 
Qeorgianna  McCaw,  you  are  hereby  promoted  to  the  grade  of  acting 
Second  Assistant  Engineer  in  the  navy  of  the  United  States,  on  tem- 
porary service. 

"  Very  respectfully, 

"  Gideon  Welles." 

The  capture  of  the  Water  Witch  in  Ossabaw  Sound  on  the  3rd 
of  June,  1864,  has  been  referred  to  in  an  earlier  chapter,  but  is 
worthy  of  further  comment  on  account  of  a  peculiar  question  regard- 
ing the  conduct  of  her  chief  engineer  in  the  affair.  The  Water  Witch 
was  boarded  while  lying  at  anchor  by  a  large  force  of  the  enemy, 
who,  in  the  extreme  darkness  of  the  night,  got  close  aboard  before 
being  discovered  and  gained  the  deck  before  the  crew  could  be  assem- 
bled to  repel  them.  The  commander  of  the  vessel,  Lieutenant  Com- 
mander Austin  Pendergrast,  reported  afterward  that  his  crew  showed 
no  disposition  to  defend  the  ship  and  gave  as  a  reason  for  this  very 
remarkable  behavior  that  the  men  were  dissatisfied  because  the  most 
of  them  were  kept  on  board  after  their  time  of  enlistment  had  ex- 
pired. Such  defense  as  was  made  was  against  great  numerical  odds 
by  a  few  of  the  men  and  some  of  the  officers,  the  hero  of  the  occa- 
sion and  most  formidable  combatant  being  Acting  Assistant  Pay- 
master Luther  Billings,  who  was  subsequently  recognized  by  pro- 
■  motion  for  his  gallantry. 

With  the  hope  of  swamping  the  enemy's  barges  alongside,  the 
ship's  engines  (side-wheels)  were  started,  but  soon  stopped  at  the 
demand  of  a  Confederate  officer  who  enforced  his  order  with  a  re- 
volver. Lieutenant  Commander  Pendergrast  referred  to  this  in  his 
report  as  an  exhibition  of  cowardice  on  the  part  of  the  engineers 
and  charged  the  loss  of  the  ship  against  them  in  the  following 
words :  "  Had  they  obeyed  my  orders  to  work  the  engine,  the 
enemy  would  have  been  unable  to  board  us  ;  but,  so  f